GILROY, Calif. - A touching ceremony was held on Tuesday in Gilroy marking one year since the mass shooting at the Garlic Festival. The community honored the three young lives lost as well as the heroic officers who saved countless others.
Due to the pandemic, local dignitaries, first responders and family members of the victims sat apart but they were very much together in sharing their pain and strength.
“Within the bounds of these restrictions, our determination today is to remember what happened in this park,” said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
Rosen spoke to a somber, socially-distanced crowd at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, home of the town’s beloved Garlic Festival. One year ago, that festival was shattered by gunfire.
“That day was ripped apart right here in this park,” said Rosen. “An act of evil tore the day apart.”
The violence was committed by a 19-year-old, the sole gunman armed with nearly 300 rounds of ammunition. Seventeen people were wounded and three people killed in just one minute.
“In less than 60 seconds, the perpetrator fired 39 rounds striking 20 people and terrorizing thousands more who were here in this park,” said Rosen.
It was a time to remember the victims. Trevor Irby was a 25-year-old die-hard Steelers fan and EMT. 13-year-old Keyla Salazar had a love for animals and people, creativity and art. Stephen Romero was a six-year-old who wouldn’t leave the house without cologne on.
How many other lives saved had it not been for the courage and bravery of three officers?
“There were three cops with handguns they ran toward the gunfire" said Rosen.
Corporal Robert Basuino, Detective Hugo del Moral and Officer Eric Cryar were presented with medals of honor.
There was a moment of silence and a virtual performance by the Gilroy High School Chamber Singers.
“For me and my family this has been a nightmare, even until this day we are still grieving,” said Keyla Salazar’s Aunt Katiuska Pimental.
Pimental does not want society to become desensitized to gun violence, advocating for her niece. She said she was lifted by the community’s resilience.
“I think the best way you can fight hate is through love and compassion,” said Pimental. “I think that's what we've seen today.”
Pimental is hoping to create a community mural to honor the 13-year-old victim. The Gilroy Police Foundation has launched a high school scholarship fund in the names of the heroic officers.