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The Garlic Festival Shooter Killed Himself, Contradicting Police Claims That Officers Fired The Fatal Shot

The 19-year-old gunman was shot multiple times by police officers, but he then managed to fatally shoot himself in the head, officials said.

Posted on August 2, 2019, at 7:42 p.m. ET

David Royal / AP

The 19-year-old shooter who killed three people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, not from police gunfire as officials had said earlier this week, the coroner has determined.

Late Sunday night after the shooting, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee told reporters that Santino William Legan, who fired a WASR-10 rifle he legally purchased in Nevada, had been “fatally wounded” by gunfire from police officers.

On Friday, Smithee said that the finding by the Santa Clara County medical examiner did not necessarily contradict his initial reports, pointing out that Legan was shot multiple times by three officers who confronted him just a minute after shots were first reported. At that moment, the shooter shifted his gunfire from the crowd to the officers, he said.

“I do know that the suspect was hit multiple times by the rounds that the officers fired, putting him down,” Smithee said.

The police chief also noted that the revelation did not change the outcome of the fast response.

“He did go down to the knees, and then down to the ground,” Smithee said.

It’s unclear if officers witnessed Legan’s last movements, but he is believed to have used the AK-47–like rifle, after he was shot by officers, to shoot himself.

“Once he was down he was able to get a round off and he shot himself,” Smithee said.

Police are still waiting for a complete report on the incident.

Three people were killed, including a 6-year-old boy, and 15 others were wounded in the shooting.

Investigators have yet to determine a motive for the shooting.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.