Coroner: Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooter Took His Own Life

The gunman in the massacre at the Gilroy Garlic Festival took his own life during a shootout with police, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner revealed today.

Dr. Michelle Jorden, responding to a request from San Jose Inside this morning, ruled the death of Santino William Legan, 19, a suicide by “intra-oral gunshot wound of head.” That is, he shot himself in the mouth with a semi-automatic rifle.

The coroner gave no further details.

That runs counter to what the FBI and Gilroy police have repeatedly told media. Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee on Monday told media: “Officers were in that area and engaged the suspect in less than a minute. The suspect was shot and killed.” On Thursday, he named three officers whom he said killed Legan, taking him down within a minute of the rampage. He called the law enforcement veterans heroes for preventing more casualties.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said he also learned of the coroner’s preliminary report Friday. At a hastily-called press conference at the Gilroy police headquarters, he offered more details about the July 28 shooting.

The chief said police on duty at Gilroy’s Christmas Hill Park fired at Legan, hitting him “multiple times.” During the shootout, the gunman fell to his knees and then to the ground. It was sometime during that sequence when the gunman fired a single round into his mouth, according to Smithee.

The chief said officers at the chaotic scene were unaware that Legan had shot himself, and that this new revelation from the coroner doesn’t diminish their heroism.

“In my mind, it changes nothing,” Smithee said at a press conference Friday. “The officers got there fast. They engaged him fast. They drew his fire and they eliminated the threat. Whether he fired that final shot or not, in my mind, changes nothing.

The July 28 shootout occurred at the north side of Gilroy’s Christmas Hill Park, 20 minutes before the close of the three-day Garlic Festival, and less than a minute after Legan had sprayed a crowded food court with dozens of shots, killing 6-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and 25-year-old Trevor Irby.

Police said 13 other people suffered gunshot injuries in the shooting at the festival, a signature event in this city of 60,000 for more than four decades.

Legan was a Gilroy High School graduate who had lived briefly in Nevada, where police said he purchased the murder weapon and ammunition earlier this month.

Police and FBI on Friday continued their investigation of the crime scene and of materials obtained from search warrants in Gilroy and Nevada. Four of the victims remained hospitalized at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Friday.

29 Comments

  1. He shot himself because the police were coming for him and he know it was over. If the police hadn’t engaged him so quickly, he would have kept on killing people. The officers risked their lives to take him out and they succeeded, saving many other lives.

  2. Good – less paper work and law suits! The dirtbag did us a huge favor.

    The first responders are still heroes in my book. More than 99% of the people reading this wouldn’t have run in to danger to save others. Send them and their families on a month long vacation to Hawaii.

    • Maybe, but risking their lives is part of an officer’s job description for these situations. If they cannot do that, they should not apply. Other people there risked their lives to save others without being paid.

      • So we shouldn’t admirepeople who do difficult things because other people do it for free? We shouldn’t admire teachers because hell I helped my nephew learn the alphabet and no one paid me? We shouldn’t admire nurses because I nursed my sick kid and no one paid me? We shouldn’t admire fire fighters because hell anyone can grab a fire extinguisher, amirite? Hey, I heard about a guy who pulled someone from a burining car and he didn’t get paid for it! So who cares if firefighters do it for their job!

        • What I am saying is that first responders die all the time, soldiers too. It is part of their comprehensive job description and the reason they are paid well. If they have not done their job, that will be something to be talking about. We appreciate the service of those professionals. Period!

          • But you just had to get in your little jab that “it’s just their job”. Sad.

      • Unless your willing to get into a gun fight, run into the burning building, or resuscitate a drug addict laying on the street, you shouldn’t judge at all, ever! You should be simply say thank you to the first responders for doing something you cannot do. It’s not our place to judge anything.

        We should all be grateful for what we have, not complaining about people that take dangerous jobs to help society. There are too many places in the world where the first responders do not exist, don’t care, or are so corrupt only the wealthy have access.

        In the “most open minded place in the world” I’m continually disappointed by the judgement passed. If you think it’s easy go get trained and get in the game. Or just get trained and you will see how NOT easy it is.

        • You assumed other of us do not do dangerous jobs. I have assumed the risk. Death is a possibility of that deal!

    • Also, remember this “dirtbag” has family who are also going through pain. We all know what he did; your comment is calloused. Go to the pharmacy and buy an once of empathy!

      • My MIL knew the “dirtbag’s” mother and tried to talk her into leaving the abusive husband years ago. No doubt, the fathers behavior at home had much to do with the actions of this shooter.

        • Domestic Violence is secrets abuse and harm for generations.

          Our entire community is responsible for being complicit and acting with a ” Mind Your Own Business” mentality.

          Mr. Legan’s grandfather was accused of sexually molesting his own daughter while he was a sitting Santa Clara County Supervisor. A jury acquitted him in the criminal case and the family law judge ignored the wife, or labeled her allegations as false. Either way, Tom Legan Jr. grew up not knowing which parent to believe and witnessing the adults in charge failing to protect him. They broke his trust.

          If Tom Legan, Jr. believed his mother, then he believed his own father was sexually abusing his sister and he was powerless to protect her. If he believed his father, then he believed his own mother and sister were lairs. This is what domestic violence and our local courts looks like. There are thousands of Tom Legans created here every month.

          As long as we continue to ignore DV, to secret it, to allow divorce lawyers and government lawyers to profit from it, as we keep it out of discussions in our homes, our schools and our workplaces, there will be thousands of angry boys and girls growing up with the potential to shoot people at a festival, a concert, a Walmart, a school, a night club or even a church.

          Children who grow up in homes with domestic violence or sexual abuse are victims. These children hope a teacher, a cop, a nurse or a doctor will help them. When they don’t the distrust grows.

          It is time we start figuring out how to help these children, not ignore them as the Santa Clara County DA and Victim Witness Service employees have done for the past two decades.

          Two decades of built up anger and distrust in our courts and legal system is perhaps the greatest threat to our community.

          Time to hold our elected officials responsible. Time to make them answer for the squandering of billions of dollars in local, state and federal funds that never reached victims and never solved any of these issues to make our community a safer place. The individuals who were paid to protect this community in our law enforcement agencies, our county DV committees and our mental health services have to start doing better. Victims have been screaming at public meetings, protesting in our streets and complaining for years. Our elected officials and too many government employees have been complicit.

          #DaveCortese #JoeSmitian #SusanEllenberg #CindyChavez #MikeWasserman #SaherStaphan #JudgeMichaelClark #JeffRosen #JayBoyarsky #MatthewFIsk #PaulMurphy #TerryHarman #CindyHendrickson #SylviaMata #JamesGibbonsShapiro all knew and were complicit.

          • I totally agree with you Susan. We have to keep pushing to expose the corruption in the family courts and the local public officials. It is time to talk openly about the physical, sexual, and mental abuse in our community and the complicit attitude of the judges, DA, and other idiots! ENOUGH

        • And then the corrupted Gilroy Police has to do a lot with this too. They always dismiss the DV cases. The same is true for Jeff Rosen. This corrupted community is in part responsible for the mental illness of this young man and the terror victims of DV live in their own homes. The tragedy was predictable!

  3. Okay, but this really doesn’t change anything. The shooting spree was going to be over anyway. If he wasn’t downed by officer fire he would had presumably continued killing. I’m a bit off-put by the chief’s continuing pronouncements about the heroic efforts of his officers. Yes, they faced danger, but they are expected to do this.

  4. It is OK to release a preliminary report on the cause of death, but if the killer had other gunshot wounds, the report should have said so too. The Examiner-Coroner can’t be that politically clueless, so it’s likely there were no other gunshot wounds.

  5. Not one reporter or commenter has focused on the reasons behind the shooting. Until we address the domestic violence and mental health issues in that young man’s past, we all fail. He was a Gilroy High grad- not one person noticed this young man’s anger and pain? Not one person is interested in what all the mothers and fathers lost on that day? Yes, we need good police officers to protect our communities. Gilroy PD Smithee is NOT one of the good guys. He should have waited for the corner’s report and he should have had respect for all the families and victims of the Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting. Instead he ran for his 15 mins. of fame in global headlines. I hear you Patty Harrell! Thank you for speaking up, hopefully others will fall out of the Thin Blue Line.

  6. Let’s not argue about who killed who – I like the fact that Gilroy PD is fighting to say they stopped the shooter. Officers who are proud to say they battled to stop a shooter are the sort of police I want around me! Whether they delivered the actually bullet or no, they certainly stopped the killing from easily becoming far worse than it was.

    • You make a good point. If we were to devalue what it means to be a hero, we’d get fewer of them.

  7. Did the officers have body worn cameras, and were they on? If so, release the footage. There is no trial to jeopardize. We’re the rounds fired by the officers likely to cause death absent the suicide round? Release the reports of the three involved officers.

  8. If mental health is the cause, then it should be a universal problem . Other countries might have the same problem like us, people shooting everywhere because they are crazy. But why we don’t hear weekly shooting from other countries but America, please!

    • Not all people who do this are “crazy” but in this case it appears to be the case because of the family DV and other history. This young man probably had too much in his head and no one to go. Intention and access to the means in these case weapons are the elements of a negative outcome in terms of taking someone’s life. In United States getting a gun is as easy as getting a candy. This is not the case in other places.

      • I’m not devaluing your comments on domestic violence at all. It’s mostly unreported and anyone convicted of it should pay the harshest penalties. Those scares run deep and wide and don’t really get fixed, ever.

        However, you said, “In United States getting a gun is as easy as getting a candy”. Please don’t devalue the system that CA has put in place. It is the most comprehensive set of gun laws in system in the world.

        This guy committed several crimes, including felonies, before he entered the festival.

        I’m not sure where you buy your guns, because this is not even even close to reality. Go buy one (LEGALLY) and try to shoot it then tell me about your experience. Here is a sample.
        1. You have to be a citizen (CA)
        2. You must be 21 (CA)
        3. You must possess a Firearms Safety Card (CA – FCS) which requires a written test
        4. You must be a resident of CA (CA) by presentation of a utility bill, car registration, etc…
        5. You must pass a CA DOJ background check (CA)
        6. You must pass a federal NICS background check (Fed)
        7. You must not have any DV restraining orders, DV conviction, illegal drug use, felony convictions, etc… (Fed)
        8. You must not have spend time interned as a mental patient.
        9. You must not be on the “no fly list” (Fed) Not sure if this was upheld?
        10. You must demonstrate safe firearms handling (CA)
        11. You must have a CA approved locking device (CA)
        12. You must wait 240 hours (10 days) from the time of purchase to pick up (CA)
        13. You must transport you handgun or RAW in a lock container. (CA)
        14. Any RAW must be accompany with the appropriate DOJ paperwork during transport (CA)
        15. Any new hand gun must be on the DOJ approved list (CA)
        16. To buy any ammunition you must do items 1-5 above for each transaction unless the ammunition is purchase at the range and consumed onsite.

        I’m sure I missed something.

        How to buy candy.
        1. Have your 5 year give the clerk a dollar.

        To your point no gun laws would have stopped this. Let’s work on the mental health issues.

        • There may be good laws but no enforcement. I can get a gun easily here, in Mexico, and in China. This can be done legally and illegally. What is the DA investigating the Sheriff’s for?

          • Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen is investigating the Sheriff to divert attention from his own criminal investigation brought based on FPPC violations related to his 2010, 2014 and 2018 campaigns. Mr. Rosen is also being investigated for misuse of state and federal funds that were intended for crime victims in Santa Clara County. Remember the 2011 overtime pay scandal where Rosen got those little kickbacks to Allison Filo., Jay Boyarsky and others who supported his 2010 campaign? Well he is still at it, this time with County Counsel James Williams , County Executive Jeff Smith and Mr. Preminger leading the way.

            As soon as lawmakers passed SB1421 and people could actually see how Rosen consistently let off cops who lie in police reports, or who use excessive force or beat their children and spouses, Rosen’s political career ended. Rosen has chased journalist investigating him EXACTLY as Trump did.. Guess what? Not all journalists are afraid of Mr. Rosen.

            Mr. Rosen likely knew that he could not keep duping the public with his faux media connections and protections he got when Jim Towery was Chief Trial Counsel at California’s State Bar.

            Yep no more lying to the kids about teen suicide . No more working with Stanford Professors to rig criminal sexual assault cases. No more sending innocent people to jail while protecting cops who keep killing our families and claiming it was a mistake. Too many mistakes on Jeff Rosen’s watch, it is time for some real transparency.

            Too little too late Mr. Rosen to reverse engineer crimes with you no name no model Stingray and other surveillance devices. Don’t think a Ted Ex talk to students at Mt. View High School or any other fancy PR Facebook and social media campaign is going to get Rosen out of this one. I still see him walking out of this county in handcuffs, without a pension and with headlines that will be sure to let his children know what he did to so many other innocent children in this county simply to advance his own career.

            Mr. Rosen will not be President. He will not be Attorney General and he likely won’t even be DA as the 2020 Presidential Election begins to fill our airspace.

          • Sorry, the same rules apply for “imported firearms” with very few exceptions and private party transfers.

            And you’re 100% right the laws that we have now are not enforceable. The (non-specific) Governor/County,/Mayor pass laws to make it look like they are doing something. But its all hot air and nothing but votes for them. The reality is that new laws won’t help.

            This is similar to security cameras. Camera’s record crime but do not prevent it, yet we spend millions of dollars on them. Why, so it looks like someone in government cares about you. Just think about it when there is a new “public safety” law on the ballot.

    • Never heard of ISIS, MS13, Mexican Cartels, Mumbai, Liberia, Western China, Syria, Afghanistan, Philippines, France, Sweden, Egypt If your just listening to CNN,MSLSD, or the alphabet channels, you will never hear about the real world. These are all place that have had massacre’s, mass kidnaping of Christians ,Muslims, Jews, girls and others.
      If you want to get something other than liberal propaganda, try the BBC, OAN, or News Max.

  9. I know first Hand Jeff Rosen, Sheriff Smith, and others are highly corrupted. I know the stories people do not hear but will start to hear. Jeff Rosen is the #1 criminal in this county and as such I hope he pays. This is the time where the water is starting to get close to their nose. For this, they will start drowing each other. I do not care who goes first Susan. I want them all gone and without the county paying their pensions; jail time will be the cherri on top of the cake.

  10. > Rosen has chased journalist investigating him EXACTLY as Trump did..

    FOUL!

    I call BS.

    Whatever point you were trying to make was now been dipped, soaked, and marinated in Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    Are you trying to make a serious case, or are you just trying to get more clicks on Zuckerbook or Twitter?

    • The records are what the records are. Mr. Rosen is being criminal investigated. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

      In 2011 Rosen was investigated by the Attorney General (Harris). He was investigated for misusing public funds related to overtime pay kickbacks to his buddies who helped get him into office in 2010. Nothing happened except he ” paid the money back”.

      Sorry, last time I checked we don’t let bank robbers or lawyers rob older citizens then just “pay it back” and get a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD.

      Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is a criminal. He knows we have the records, sources and information to not only remove him from office for rigging the 2018 local elections, but to put him in jail and strip him of his pension.

      Rosen is going after Sheriff Smith to deflect media and criminal investigations of his office. Perhaps the worst of Mr. Rosen’s crimes is that he mismanaged state and federal funds earmarked for victims as the ex wife of his Victim Claims Manager, Saher Stephan, claimed in the family court files that Mr. Stephan was engaged in an improper sexual relationship with a subordinate and was a domestic violence abuser himself. Rosen not only approved of improper relationships of employees he managed and supervised, he pimped out the subordinate as one of the only immigrants in VWS. Really, that is how Rosen thinks immigrants should be treated when employed by Santa Clara County taxpayers?

      Sadly, ALL Supervisors knew this went on. Yep Ken Yegar, Joe Smitian, Mike Wasserman, Dave Cortese, Cindy Chavez and even Susan Ellenberg. In fact in 2019 the all voted to give Rosen as raise. They ALL knew that Saher Stephan and his mistress helped get a victim out of state who had been used as a sex toy for at least 12 police officers in agencies across the Bay Area.

      Mr. Rosen has given TedEx talks, and played the victim card to get elected over and over again. He did this as he stole from taxpayers, violated Marsy’s Law and ignored the most vulnerable children in our community. Worse, as he did it his local democratic party stood by him and turned their attention to Washington and the Trump Presidency, when they should have been paying attention to what was going on here at home.

      Rosen created Fake News, tilted the elections and worried more about his PR campaigns and image than the cases he was to prosecute in order to protect the public. Each case Rosen prosecuted was tainted to misconduct, false police reports and engineered for Mr. Rosen’s political gain.

      SB1421 gave us the records. The Genie is out of the bottle and even Mr. Rosen can’t put it back in. Especially when those records stop at his emails.

      Happy to put my name and face on it. If Mr. Rosen could claim it is not true, he could sue me for defamation. I dare him to.

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