Stephen Romero: 6-Year-Old Boy Killed in Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting

Stephen Romero, a 6-year-old boy, was killed in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.

The boy was the first of the three victims who was identified in the shooting Sunday. He was from San Jose, California.

The two other victims are Keyla Salazar, 13, of San Jose, California and Trevor Irby, a recent college graduate.

The shooting suspect, identified as Santino William Legan, was also killed.

Another 11 people or more suffered injuries from the shooting. They were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Among the injured was the boy’s mother and grandmother. His father and grandmother spoke to Kron 4. The boy’s mother was shot in the stomach and hand. The mother and grandmother are both expected to survive.

Romero had recently celebrated his sixth birthday with his family at Legoland. Now his family members are calling on witnesses to speak out so justice can be served.

A GoFundMe to raise funds for his family reached nearly half of its $50,000 goal within 15 hours.

A suspect who was firing shots at the festival was killed by police, according to Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee. Police are looking for a second suspect. It was unclear how the second suspect was involved.

Shots rang out at about 5:40 p.m. on the north side of the crowded festival. Police were already in the area and “engaged” the suspect within one minute. The suspect was killed, said Smithee.

Romero was “a happy kid,” his grandmother told Kron 4.

Festival attendees captured video of people fleeing the gunfire. The videos capture the horror as a serene setting turned deadly. People struggled to understand what was happening as they saw people running, then processed the scenario and ran.

A person shouted in the background of one video, “I’m not leaving her!”

Smithee said two suspects entered the festival grounds from the creek area after using tools to cut through the gate.

He described the mass shooting as “a nightmare” that struck a tightly knit community.

“The city of Gilmore is an incredible community, and we have incredible people here, and I’m really proud to be the chief here and lead this force,” he said during a press conference.

Brian Bowe, director of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, also spoke about the bond the community shares, saying Gilroy is a family.

“This festival is like our annual family reunion,” he said.

Gilroy Police wrote on Twitter a family reunification center and witness hotline was set up for the mass shooting. They wrote their hearts were with the victims.

“The hearts of Gilroy PD and entire community go out to the victims of today’s shooting at the Garlic Festival. The scene is still active. If you are looking for a loved one, please go to the reunification center at Gavilan College at parking lot B. #GilroyActiveshooter,” Gilroy Police wrote on Twitter.

“Witness line and family reunification line: 408-846-0583. If you saw something today please call that number immediately. Please keep the main GPD line for emergencies only. Media please do not call that line. A media line will be posted soon,” they added.

A witness, Julissa Contreras, told NBC Bay Area NBC Bay Area she saw a shooter. She said he had a rifle which was able to fire rapidly.

“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.”

“He definitely was prepared for what he was doing,” she added.

Gilroy is about 30 miles east of San Jose, California. The garlic festival is one of the largest food festivals in the United States. The garlic festival was in its final day when the shooting occurred.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Stephen Romero, Age 6, Was The First Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting Victim to be Identified

Stephen Romero, a 6-year-old boy, was the first mass shooting victim to be identified from the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting. The boy’s father told local news stations his son was killed. The boy was at the festival with his mother and grandmother, who were also injured in the shooting. The mother and grandmother are expected to survive.

“There’s no words to describe, because he was such a happy kid,” his grandmother told Kron 4. “I don’t think that this is fair.”


2. Stephen Romero Recently Celebrated His Sixth Birthday at Legoland

Stephen Romero had just turned 6 when he was killed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California Sunday evening.

The boy had recently celebrated his birthday at Legoland in California, according to NBC Bay Area.

Romero was with his mother and grandmother when he was shot. His mother was also shot in the hand and stomach. She is expected to survive. His grandmother was also injured.


3. ‘My Son Had His Whole Life to Live,’ His Father Said

Stephen Romero, the 6-year-old boy who was killed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, lived in San Jose.

His father, Alberto Romero, confirmed his son’s death to local news stations. The boy’s dad was not with him at the shooting. The little boy was with his mother, who was also shot, and his grandmother. The women are expected to survive.

“There’s nothing I really can do besides try to be with him until I can put him in his resting spot, wherever that is,” his father, Alberto Romero, told NBC Bay Area.

“My son had his whole life to live and he was only 6. That’s all I can say,” he added.


4. Stephen Romero’s Dad is Calling On Witnesses to Speak Out

The father of Stephen Romero, the 6-year-old boy killed in the Gilroy Garlic Festival mass shooting, is calling on witnesses to share information.

“if anybody has info on the shooting of Gilroy garlic festival get at me he killed my son,” he wrote on social media.

He shared a photo of his young son at Legoland during his sixth birthday celebration.

A suspected shooter was killed by police at the festival. Police are searching for a second suspect. It was not immediately clear how the second suspect was involved.


5. Stephen Romero’s Name & Photo Quickly Circulated On Social Media

Facebook

News of the 6-year-old boy’s death in the mass shooting quickly circulated on social media. People were devastated that a young boy would be among those killed in a mass shooting during a family event.

The boy’s aunt, Kerry Romero, called on witnesses to share information so the second suspect is caught.

“We love you Stevie. Sleep peacefully with the angels baby,” she wrote on Facebook.

Members of the community also expressed support for the family. Others called for change so mass shootings like the one that took Romero’s life stop happening at such a devastating pace.

“The 6 year old, Stephen Romero, who died at #GilroyGarlicFestival today,” a woman wrote on Twitter.

“Remember him.

“Say his name.

“#NeverAgainIsNow”