Gilroy community comes together in separate vigils to honor shooting victims

GILROY, Calif. -- Messages of love, hope and strength were communicated across a community that has suffered so much.

Residents in Gilroy came together at separate vigils Monday night, to remember victims of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting and to support others still recovering.

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The overwhelming theme, "Gilroy Strong."

Residents in the small city said they're struggling to find strength to heal, especially learning the person responsible for Sunday night's tragedy was one of their own.

"To hear that it was a local, that's even more- just really sad," resident Josie Bravo told ABC7 News.

However, those in attendance made it very clear the vigil outside Gilroy City Hall was not about the suspect. The event put the focus on the fallen, the dozens still in the process of recovery, and the city of survivors.

"This is my hometown and something horrible happened," Elotia Benitez said."It affects me personally. I have a cousin who was one of the people who was shot."

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Benitez said her cousin was treated and released from the hospital.

We know three others are dead.

"Those three angels that left, well, their parents and all their family members are very sad," 12-year-old Cristopher Gomez told ABC7 News.

St. Mary's Church in Gilroy hosted a second vigil Monday night. Cristopher, with permission from his mother, asked to say a few words to us.

He spoke about the two kids who lost their lives on Sunday.

"We're supposed to focus on school, listening to our parents," he said. "But at that time, you're at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. I think all the kids are supposed to have fun."

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Those in mourning Monday said while it may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, the City of Gilroy will soon find the strength to heal.

Many shared the message, they are Gilroy Strong.

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