With the July 28 shootings at the Garlic Festival, Gilroy has joined the ever-growing list of communities affected by gun violence, and with that came input from famous figures across the country, hashtagged #GilroyGarlicFestival and #GilroyShooting.
Community leaders from the South County, TV personalities, politicians and other notable figures took to Twitter and social media to express their condolences and thoughts on the tragedy, which claimed the lives of three festival-goers and a lone gunman.
President Donald Trump tweeted when the news was just breaking. “Law enforcement is at the scene of shootings in Gilroy, California. Reports are that shooter has not yet been apprehended. Be careful and safe!”
The local representatives who weighed in on Twitter included Rep. Zoe Lofgren, whose district includes a portion of West Gilroy, along with Rep. Jimmy Panetta, whose district includes East Gilroy. Both were in attendance at a July 29 morning news conference.
“I am heartbroken over the innocent lives lost and outraged that this violence has happened in our community at a time when families and neighbors were enjoying the annual #GilroyGarlicFestival,” wrote Lofgren.
“I join our community members in grieving and praying for the victims of the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. I am grateful for law enforcement’s and first responder’s swift response,” wrote Panetta. “And my office will continue to work with all partners to provide support to those impacted by this tragedy. Tonight, we are hurting, but we find strength and resolve in each other and our community.”
Assemblymember Robert Rivas was updating his Twitter account with posts by the Gilroy Police Department and later sent out a statement.
“No parent should have to fear taking their children to a festival. No families should be afraid of
what might happen while enjoying a summer evening,” Rivas wrote. “The Gilroy Garlic Festival has been a treasured cultural tradition that brought thousands together and raised millions to support local charities and community groups. Gilroy is resilient, and our community will come together.”
The story quickly became national news, with many of the presidential candidates also weighing in, including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. Dana Loesch, spokesperson for the NRA, used the shooting to speak out against “gun free zones,” a conservative talking point.
TV personality and journalist on CNN, Jake Tapper, used his large platform to raise money for the youngest victim of the shooting, six-year-old Stephen Romero. Tapper linked to the GoFundMe page being used to raise money for Romero’s family.
Teresa Giudice, who had been the celebrity guest at the festival on Saturday, tweeted, “I am so sad hearing about the shooting tonight at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, I was there yesterday and just got back to New Jersey. I am praying for everyone there.”