'This is where Keyla took her last breath': Family, first responders return to site of Garlic Festival shooting 1 year later

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
'This is where Keyla took her last breath': Family, first responders return to site of Garlic Festival shooting 1 year later
Families are still grieving their loved ones killed in a mass shooting at last year's Gilroy Garlic Festival.

GILROY, Calif. (KGO) -- Tuesday marked one year since a gunman opened fire on crowds during the last day of the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

"It has been a year, technically," Katiuska Pimentel said through tears. "But for many of us, it's like it happened yesterday."

RELATED: Gilroy Strong: Healing continues one year after mass shooting

Pimentel spoke on behalf of her niece, Keyla Salazar's family. Keyla, 13, was one of three people killed in the shooting. Stephen Romero, 6, and Trevor Irby, 25, were also victims. Seventeen others were wounded.

"In less than 60-seconds, the perpetrator fired 39 rounds, striking 20 people, and terrorizing thousands more who were here in this park and throughout our entire community," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said during a remembrance ceremony, Tuesday evening.

The vigil was largely virtual, attracting hundreds of viewers.

VIDEO: Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting victims remembered 1 year later

Gilroy city leaders gathered at the site of the mass shooting to honor the three victims who were fatally shot by a 19-year-old gunman one year ago.

Many watched as Rosen honored a number of heroes, including the three officers who charged the gunman: Eric Cryar, Hugo Del Moral and Robert Basuino, and the many others who stepped in and saved lives that day.

Days after the deadly shooting, ABC7 News introduced you to a 10-year-old girl named Miranda. She was credited with saving a three-year-old boy whose parents had been shot.

Miranda's grandmother, Cheryl Low and Candice Marquez, recalled standing 10-feet from the shooter.

All, still processing the pain.

RELATED: Grandmother says she wants justice for 6-year-old killed Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting

"Sometimes it's a hard day, sometimes I don't think about it," Low said. "But you know, we get through it day by day."

She added, "I'm hyper-aware of everything that goes on around me now. You know, somebody's acting weird? I'm gone."

The lasting impacts were most recently experienced on July 4.

"Fourth of July was really hard this year, with all the bangs. Oh my God. Just, anytime I hear a loud noise, it just it takes me back to that same day."

RELATED: Santa Clara Co., Gilroy shooting victim's family push for changes to gun laws

Around Christmas Hill Park, there are reminders of the community's desire to rise above senseless acts of violence.

"Our hearts will remain in this space," Pimentel told reporters. "Because this is where Keyla took her last breath."

The hope now is that people see the park as a symbol of resiliency.

"Christmas Hill Park will never be just an old crime scene- a horror story told through the years," Rosen explained. "This park is and will be a symbol of this proud and resilient community. This is a place that will not back down. It is Gilroy strong."

This year's Garlic Festival was scheduled for this past weekend, but was canceled because of the pandemic.