At least three people were killed in a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California, authorities said Sunday night. There was no immediate indication that a suspect was in custody.
At least 11 people were transported to two hospitals in fair to critical condition after the shooting at one of the largest food festivals in the United States, said Joy Alexiou, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara Valley Public Health System. Gilroy City Council member Dion Bracco and a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told NBC News that three people had been pronounced dead.
The San Francisco division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding to the scene in Gilroy, about 30 miles southeast of San Jose. The festival was near the end of its third and final day when the gunshots were reported at about 5:30 p.m., NBC Bay Area reported.
A witness, Julissa Contreras, told NBC Bay Area that she saw a white man in his early to mid-30s firing a rifle that was “able to shoot three to four shots a second.”
“It was just rapid firing,” she said. “I could see him shooting in just every direction. He wasn’t aiming at anyone specifically. It was just left to right, right to left.”
She added: “He definitely was prepared for what he was doing.”
Maximo Rocha, a volunteer with the Gilroy Browns, a Pop Warner youth football team, said he saw many people on the ground, although he couldn’t be sure how many may have been shot and how many may have been trying to protect themselves.
But he told NBC Bay Area that “quite a few” of them were injured in some fashion, “because I helped a few.”
Gloria Parker, another witness, told the station that she and other people began running when they heard 10 to 15 bangs that they initially thought were firecrackers.
“There was tons of cops there,” she said.
No further information was immediately available.
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SOURCE: NBC News – Alex Johnson and Andrew Blankstein