Police Identify Santino William Legan as Garlic Festival Gunman

The gunman who killed three people and wounded about a dozen more at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Sunday evening has been identified as Santino Williams Legan, the 19-year-old grandson of the late Santa Clara County Supervisor Thomas Legan.

Police this morning flocked to the Legan family’s Gilroy home, where they rifled through a gray Nissan Altima parked along the curb on the 300 block of Churchill Place.

Neighbors say a SWAT team showed up to the light gray house around midnight, about six to seven hours after Legan opened fire on festival-goers with an assault-style rifle before being fatally gunned down by police.

According to his May 2018 obituary, Legan’s grandfather, Tom, was a West Point graduate who served as a “captain in Korea as a nuclear weapons officer and completed his military service in Germany.” After a stint as marketing director for Kaiser Cement, the Republican policymaker served for two terms as Santa Clara County supervisor.

In 1987, Tom Legan and three of his fellow supervisors were sentenced to 10 days in jail and fined $2,000 for defying a court order to provide additional cells for male inmates in the local jails. A year later, during his bid for re-election, he was acquitted of charges that he raped his eldest daughter six years earlier, per the Los Angeles Times.

Tom Legan’s tenure on the Board of Supervisors overlapped with that of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), who stood alongside police and fire officials at a Monday morning presser about Sunday’s mass shooting.

Santino Legan’s brother, Rosino Legan, made a name for himself as a high school boxer in Watsonville, according to news reports. Five years ago, according to San Jose Inside’s sister newspaper the Gilroy Dispatch, Rosino competed in the USA Boxing National Championships in Spokane, Washington.

An Instagram account under Santino’s name that’s since been taken down depicts a photo of the garlic festival and the caption, “Ayyy garlic festival time. Come get wasted on overpriced sh*t.” Police got the initial calls about the shooting about an hour after the image was shared online.

In a post shared to the account a short time earlier, there’s a photo of Smokey the Bear alongside a fire warning sign and a caption that read: “Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to cater to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?” It also plugged Might Is Right, a 19th century text of apocryphal authorship that Rolling Stone calls a staple of the white supremacist canon.

Authorities say Santino Legan on July 9 legally bought the weapon he used Sunday to kill a 22-year-old man, 13-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy identified as Stephen Romero. Witnesses say Legan was wearing some kind of militaristic get-up during the attack.

People who went to school with the shooter are telling reporters that he seemed unremarkable. By many accounts, a normal guy—whatever that means.

In a press conference this morning, police declined to speculate about Legan’s motive for the massacre. But they confirmed that they continue to search for a potential accomplice.

FBI agent Craig Fair told reporters that his team is working on piecing together a clearer portrait of Legan’s motivation, organizational ties and ideological leanings.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

17 Comments

    • From above.

      In a post shared to the account a short time earlier, there’s a photo of Smokey the Bear alongside a fire warning sign and a caption that read: “Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to cater to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?

      I don’t think he identified as White. Also what would it matter if he was? Is it going to bring the dead back to life? Black, brown, red, yellow, white, Santino wasn’t right in the head.

      Let’s not turn this into soapbox for 2nd amendment, race baiting or pro/anti NRA BS. It’s just not time yet to even think about it.

      • I agree, I get sick of everybody trying to turn this into identify politics. I don’t care about race, I care about nuts, and the rest of us.

  1. This is not the time to blame Richard. It is a time to support those directly affected by the shooting yesterday. It is also a time to work on creating strategies to prevent more events like this one. It is a very close call for action. People can no longer enjoy a day of Garlic food and listening to music!

  2. Let’s see, now this boy bought this rifle legally in Nevada on July 9th. That means he must be a resident of Nevada. Because he can’t buy one here the law would have stopped him-here, as he is not old enough, background check and ammo restriction. Transporting to California also illegal, should have been stopped at the boarder but this is a sanctuary state and city. Now what California law would have stopped this. What could you possibly do to treat millions of law abiding like criminals. If you can grant rights that give illegal Alien’s virtual immunity from prosecution, what makes you think violating the rights of the citizen is going to make you safer.

    • You’re right, no California law would have stopped this. Just like no Chicago law can stop the guns from flowing in there. These cases that you use to support your second amendment argument are *precisely* the reason we need stricter *federal* firearms laws. A blanket law would make it impossible for someone to legally purchase a firearm and then easily transport it across state lines. Sure a determined criminal will find a way to get a gun. Or they’ll find their way into an FBI sting operation. One never knows. This 19 year old kid was probably not a particularly bright or well-connected criminal who could have navigated that. A federal restriction on age or any number of things would have saved lives in *this* instance *without* “banning” guns. That should be reason enough.

      • Yes California laws won’t stop gun crime by people intent on committing a crime, just as Federal laws will not stop drug smugglers, gun runners and people smugglers coming across the boarder, especially if congress doesn’t want to enforce the law. It’s the politics of contraban.

      • Where’s the supporting evidence that “A federal restriction on age or any number of things would have saved lives in *this* instance *without* “banning” guns.”? Or in similar instances?

        Theft is the major source of crime guns (43.2%). About 10% of crime guns originate from pawnshops, gun stores, gun shows i.e., where fed/state regulations usually apply. But over 2X (25.3%) originate from friends & family. These include straw purchases, loaning guns, and gifts. Source: DOJ.

        Anyone intent on possessing a firearm will get one. Other options: assemble a single shot “slam fire” for about $20 in parts from Home Depot or spend more to buy machined parts to make one without a serial number. – aka “ghost gun” (illegal in CA). Straightforward and easy to build.

        And on the race baiting front, most mass shooters (4 or more deaths – Gilroy’s 3 fatalities don’t qualify) are white. Although about 13% of the US population, 54% of gun homicide shooters are black. Another fun fact: blacks comprise about 7% of CA’s population, but over 45% of incarcerated 3-strikers.

        The response by Gilroy PD (within a minute per reports) and decisive action was impressive. Unfortunately that seems rare (e.g., Parkland, FL and Pulse nightclub shootings had appalling poor response times).

        Armed civilians stop between 11% to 18% of shooting incidents depending on source (FBI or academic researchers). Police are generally poor shots due to infrequent training. AFAIK only NYPD publishes statistics: under 14% of shots hit their target. A typical gun fight is under 18 feet.

        NetNet: To reduce severity, improve law enforcement training and encourage more civilian carry.

        Facts matter.

  3. :Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to cater to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?” It also plugged Might Is Right, a 19th century text of apocryphal authorship that Rolling Stone calls a staple of the white supremacist canon.”

    There’s something here for everyone. Those of us who want to point to the rise of white supremicist related violence (https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/454338-fbis-wray-says-majority-of-domestic-terrorism-arrests-this-year) those people who want to make it about hating white people got something here also.

    I understand that people want to know who the shooter was, but also why give this POS a platform, or too much of a platform. I don’t know exactly where the line is, but overall it does feel like “don’t say his name, don’t give him a platform” focus on the victims and survivors is better. To the extent that these shooters seem to motivated by a desire to become psuedo celebrity by killing innocents, I wonder how much covering this stuff feeds this kind of violence.

  4. I wonder what his parents have to say about him, I haven’t heard anything about what they have to say about him!

  5. “Now is not the time”? Really? What is this the time for, thoughts and prayers? Because we’ve seen how well that’s been working. No, California legislation is not going to help. It’s time for federal gun control law and a federal assault weapon ban. And now is the perfect time to demand it.

    • Civilian ownership of “assault weapons” is highly restricted. By definition, they must include a select fire switch that allows multiple rounds to be fired with a single trigger pull.

      None of the mass shootings used them. California adopted its own definition effectively equating “assault weapon” to a Scary Black Gun. A wooden stock rifle can be more effective (speed and accuracy), but they cost and weigh more than a modern sporting rifle (MSR).

      Unless the shooter is positioned like a sniper and shooting at distance (e.g., Las Vegas), MSRs are a poor choice compared to other alternatives.

      Note that none of the minors responsible for such incidents were involved in gun clubs / competitive shooting. I suspect youth involved in shooting sports know there are better alternatives. And they are not loners. Most perpetrators are isolated regardless of the venue (festival, school, workplace).

      Where’s the supporting details that a federal ban on MSRs will make any difference? And when laws prove ineffective, shouldn’t they be removed?

    • Works so well controlling banned drugs, weapons’, and criminals, now why don’t we demand banning that as well.

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