Garlic Festival shooting suspect showed no warning signs of violence

Shooter’s family has deep Gilroy roots

Neighbors of Santino William Legan were surprised to learn the 19-year-old Gilroy native reportedly went on a shooting spree July 28 at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, killing three people and wounding another dozen before being shot by police.

Legan grew up with his parents and three siblings in a gray house near a cul-de-sac at the end of Churchill Place in southwest Gilroy, according to nearby residents. And the family has deep roots in the area, as Legan’s grandfather is the late Santa Clara County Supervisor Thomas Legan.

Neighbors on the morning of July 29 described the Legans as a “caring” family that has never caused or been part of any problems on the street. They have lived on Churchill Place for about 20 years.

Larry Scettrini, who has lived two doors down from the Legans since they moved in, recalled that the father had set up a boxing gym for the kids when they were smaller. Santino Legan’s brother, Rosino Legan, has been a successful competitive boxer who competed five years ago in the USA Boxing National Championships, according to a previous story in the Gilroy Dispatch.

“I’ve talked to them many times; they’re very concerned parents and neighbors,” Scettrini said. “No sign of any problem with the kids.”

Police Chief Scot Smithee said at a July 29 press conference that officers served a search warrant at the home hours earlier. The chief did not release details of the search. Officers also located and executed a search warrant on Legan’s vehicle, which was parked outside the festival, northeast of Christmas Hill Park.

Legan was shot and killed by police less than a minute after he opened fire at Christmas Hill Park during the Gilroy Garlic Festival. He killed three people—including two children—and injured 12 others.

Police have said they do not yet know Legan’s motive for the July 28 shooting. Smithee said thus far in the investigation, it appears Legan chose his victims randomly. A search of the Santa Clara County Superior court’s website showed Legan did not have an adult criminal record in the county.

FBI agent Craig Fair said at the press conference that his team is working on piecing together a clearer portrait of Legan’s motive, organizational ties and ideological leanings.

Smithee said one reason investigators want to establish Legan’s motive, even though he is deceased, is to determine if the shooter is affiliated with any organized groups that might promote such violence.

On Churchill Place, Scettrini said the Garlic Festival shooting represents a larger failure of elected representatives failing to “do anything” to respond to the epidemic of gun violence in the US. “There were two tragedies: the shooting, and the fact that it’s going to be forgotten by Thursday. What are we doing about that?” he said. 

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