The Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting Is Being Investigated As Domestic Terrorism — The Second Such Case In Less Than A Week
The FBI said the shooter had a target list of religious, political and government groups and his online records showed interest in "varying competing violent ideologies."
The FBI announced on Tuesday that the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, which left three people dead and 15 injured last month, is now being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism after authorities discovered a target list of religious organizations, political groups, and government buildings.
John Bennett, from the FBI's San Francisco office, said in a press conference that examination of the suspect's digital media records showed an "interest in varying competing violent ideologies." Bennett did not specify which ideologies.
The attack came less than a week before the domestic terrorist attack in El Paso, where a gunman targeting Latinos killed 22 people.
The 19-year-old suspect used a tool to cut through a fence and avoid festival security, and then opened fire. He shot and killed Stephen Romero, 6, of San Jose; Keyla Salazar, 13, of San Jose; and Trevor Irby, 25, originally from Romulus, New York.
Just hours after Salazar's funeral on Tuesday, authorities announced they had found the suspect's list of potential targets. It included religious institutions, federal buildings such as courthouses, nonprofit organizations, and political parties, as well as the famous Gilroy Garlic Festival — located 30 miles from San Jose — where the attack took place.
Bennett said the domestic terrorism investigation would seek to answer "what, if any, ideology he had settled on" and why the garlic festival was chosen.
The FBI did not release the target list and said they believe there was no longer a risk because of the shooter's death — he killed himself, while police shot at him. Still, police said they would contact those concerned.
The weapons used in the shooting were purchased legally in Nevada.
On Tuesday, the shooter's family released a statement to local media expressing their horror at their son's actions and sending their condolences to the families of those killed and injured.
"We have never and would never condone the hateful thoughts and ideologies that led to this event, and it is impossible to reconcile this with the son we thought we knew," they wrote. "Our son is gone, and we will forever have unanswered questions as to how or why any of this has happened."