Gunman’s death in mass shooting at Northern California food festival ruled suicide


FILE PHOTO: A painting by Gilroy resident Ignacio “Nacho” Moya on the stage at a vigil for those who died and were injured at the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival a day earlier, in Gilroy, California, U.S. July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An autopsy found that the teenager who opened fire with an assault rifle at a weekend food festival in Northern California, killing three people, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, a coroner’s spokeswoman said on Friday.

Police had originally said that the gunman, Santino William Legan, 19, was shot dead by police officers who were on patrol at Sunday’s Gilroy Garlic Festival and confronted Legan when he began his rampage.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee has commended the three officers involved as heroes, saying that the casualty toll would likely have been higher had they not confronted the gunman when they did, within seconds after the shooting started.

Three people were killed, including a 6-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, and a dozen others were injured, some seriously.

The violence erupted near the end of an annual decades-old event celebrating produce farmed in the countryside of California’s Santa Clara Valley, about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Silicon Valley.

Police said the gunman opened fire with an “AK47-variant” of an assault-style rifle, which he had purchased legally in Nevada. A shotgun also purchased in Nevada was later found in his car. The autopsy of Legan showed that he died by shooting himself through the mouth, said Cindy Gallego, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County coroner’s office. She declined to say whether medical examiners had found that Legan had sustained any wounds from rounds fired at him by police.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler

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