For release on March 10, 2020
Deputy District Attorney
DA Report: Gilroy Officers Lawfully Shot Gilroy Shooter, “Undoubtedly Saved Lives”
Three Gilroy Police officers lawfully shot the Garlic Festival shooter before he killed himself, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has determined.
The officers shot 19-year-old Santino Legan numerous times as he was firing an assault weapon into the crowd and at the officers at the annual family fair on July 28, 2019. Before he was stopped, Legan killed three people and wounded 17. Detective Eric Cryar, Officer Robert Basuino and Officer Hugo Del Moral confronted the killer less than a minute after he began shooting.
Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker, who authored the DA’s 26-page report, wrote: “Placing themselves, literally, in the line of fire to stop a mass murderer undoubtedly saved lives and prevented further bloodshed. In light of the grave circumstances of this case, their actions were unquestionably lawful and justified.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the force was legal. By law, officers are allowed to use deadly force when they or others are faced with imminent danger.
Around 6:30 p.m. Legan entered the Gilroy Garlic Festival through a locked access gate wearing a bullet-proof vest and armed with a loaded AK-47 assault rifle with dozens of rounds of ammunition. After making his way to an inflatable slide play structure centrally located among several vendor booths and picnic tables, he opened fire on the surrounding visitors who were enjoying the late afternoon festival activities. In all, Legan fired at least 36 rounds of ammunition and hit 20 men, women and children. Three died: a 13-year-old girl, a 25-year-old man and a six-year-old boy.
Once Legan began shooting, Detective Cryar and Officers Basuino and Del Moral rushed to the area. When they arrived, Legan turned his gun on them. The three officers returned fire, striking Legan multiple times in his chest, back, hands and legs. The wounded Legan put the muzzle of his assault rifle to the roof of his mouth and pulled the trigger, taking his own life.
Detective Cryar, a military veteran, explained to investigators when asked why he engaged Legan with gunfire: “if we didn’t take the action that we took there could be a lot of dead people.”
The shooting is still being investigated by the FBI and the Gilroy Police.