FBI says mass shooting case still open

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Local and federal authorities are still investigating the July 28 Garlic Festival mass shooting as witnesses continue to come forward with information about the deadly incident.

An attorney representing the City of Gilroy wrote in an Oct. 15 response to a Public Records Act request from this newspaper: “Because the City of Gilroy and FBI are continuing to uncover witnesses and evidence, disclosure of video and/or audio recordings related to the incident would substantially interfere with the investigation.”

This newspaper had previously requested police recordings of on-scene officers’ response to the Garlic Festival shooting. Attorney Cindy Chu of San Jose-based Berliner Cohen firm, which is representing the city in issues related to PRA requests, explained in her Oct. 15 email that disclosing such recordings while the investigation is ongoing “could endanger witnesses or a confidential source.”

It has been several weeks since investigators have released any new details about the July 28 shooting at Christmas Hill Park that left four people dead—including the shooter—and 17 injured. The shooting occurred on the last day of the annual three-day Gilroy Garlic Festival, which drew tens of thousands of attendees.

Christmas Hill Park was closed to the public for nearly a month after the massacre, as local, state and federal investigators combed the venue for evidence. FBI investigators said they would continue to investigate the shooter’s motive, but a bureau spokesperson offered no update when contacted earlier this week.

FBI public information officer Katherine Zeckel said in an Oct. 21 email, “The FBI and the Gilroy Police Department are continuing to investigate this matter. As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot provide any additional details at this time.”

Gilroy Police Capt. Joseph Deras added the investigation “remains open and active,” and therefore local police can’t release more information.

Killed in the Garlic Festival shooting were Stephen Romero, 6, Keyla Salazar, 13, and Trevor Irby, 25. Seventeen others were injured by the shooter, who fired 39 times before turning a semiautomatic rifle on himself in the midst of a shootout with police.

Three Gilroy Police officers—Eric Cryar, Hugo Del Moral and Robert Basuino—were hailed by Chief Scot Smithee as “heroes” for shooting the heavily armed suspect while running directly toward him.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating the July 28 shooting due to the officers’ use of their firearms.

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