Gilroy Police Chief Pedro Espinoza joins others in recognizing the lives lost at the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival during a downtown memorial on July 28. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

It’s been two years since the minute at Christmas Hill Park that irreversibly altered dozens of lives and forever scarred the city known worldwide for its garlic.

On July 28, the City of Gilroy and Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office held two memorial events—one in the morning where the shooting occurred, and another during the afternoon, taking place two years to the minute after the tragedy at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

The shooting on the final day and hour of the 2019 festival by 19-year-old Santino Legan left three dead—Trevor Irby, Keyla Salazar and Stephen Romero—and 17 injured. Investigators say the incident lasted one minute.

Speaking on the lawn next to the downtown Gilroy Center for the Arts at the later memorial, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said the week was dedicated to acts of kindness to combat hatred.

The District Attorney’s Office and the Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center served St. Louise Regional Hospital staff a Garlic Festival-themed lunch on July 26, catered by local Chef Mark Segovia, thanking them for their work following the shooting in 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There’s been a pandemic since then, but they remember what happened here two years ago, and they still cry,” Rosen said.

Reclaim Foundation held a free virtual yoga class the next day to promote emotional wellness, followed by a webinar training for law enforcement, titled “Trauma101 for Law Enforcement Professionals” on July 29.

On July 30 from 6-8pm, the GSRC will hold its final Soul Box-making session. To learn more about the Soul Box Project events at the GSRC, visit the GSRC Facebook page at

Wrapping up the week, The Neon Exchange YouTube channel on July 31 will feature a conversation with trauma survivor and founder of the Reclaim Foundation, Megan Bull. Bull will cook alongside Segovia where they will discuss their journey to healing.

Mayor Marie Blankley addresses those gathered at the memorial marking two years since the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival as District Attorney Jeff Rosen listens. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Mayor Marie Blankley said the public is still searching for answers as to why the shooter targeted the Garlic Festival.

“We remain without reason for this senseless and horrific act that occurred at the Gilroy Garlic Festival,” she said.

She thanked everyone in the community who have supported those impacted by the shooting.

“Together we pick ourselves up, we heal and we focus on the strength that comes from a community of love,” Blankley said.

The memorial event downtown also included a prayer from Father Jose Antonio Rubio and an opening ceremony by Danza Group Kalpulli Izkalli.

Afterwards, attendees were invited to an open house at the Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center. Located in The Neon Exchange, 7365 Monterey St., the center offers wellness services and other assistance for those impacted by the shooting and other traumatic events.For information, visit

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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