Hearts ‘Heavy With Sadness’ Over Shooting at Garlic Festival, Bishop Says

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SAN JOSE, California (Catholic News Service) — Late July 29, San Jose Bishop Oscar Cantu held a bilingual prayer vigil for victims, survivors and first responders at St. Mary’s Church in Gilroy in response to a July 28 shooting that claimed the lives of three people and injured 12 others on the last day of a popular festival.

“Our hearts are heavy with sadness in the wake of the horrific shooting that claimed the lives of at least three innocent victims and injured several others at the Gilroy Garlic Festival,” Bishop Cantu said in a statement. “I am grateful for the first responders and individual citizens whose quick thinking and professional actions saved countless lives.”

CBS News reported that the three who were killed included a six-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a man in his 20s at the festival in Gilroy, which is about 80 miles southeast of San Francisco. Police quickly shot and killed the gunman, identified as Santino William Legan, 19.

The police chief said investigators had not found motive yet for the shooting.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, survivors and their families in this time of sorrow,” Bishop Cantu said. “May God, the source of our faith and strength, grant comfort and hope to all those affected by acts of violence.

“May grief give way to healing and grace, as we work together to protect the innocent and prevent future massacres, so that peace may prevail in our hearts and communities,” he added.

Gilroy is considered the “garlic capital of the world.” The festival goes over three days, features food, cooking competitions and music, and draws more than 100,000 people.