Site of Gilroy Garlic Festival reopens to community after deadly shooting

GILROY, Calif. (KGO) -- The site of the deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival reopened to the public Tuesday for the first time in more than a month.

"Being able to come back here and have such support, and to see the community together and everything like that, it just makes me feel a little bit better," said Gilroy resident Heather Cronk.

Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy was closed after three people were killed Sunday, July 28, 2019.

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The gunman, identified as 19-year-old Gilroy resident Santino William Legan, opened fire on the crowds during the last day of the festival.

Three people were killed, including 25-year-old Trevor Irby, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and 6-year-old Stephen Romero.

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"The evil act that was committed doesn't define what this park represents," said Greg Quirke, a local church pastor who also serves as Gilroy's police and fire chaplain. "I think people are ready to move forward, and take back what is theirs."

A moment of silence was held for the victims Tuesday at a newly established memorial site as part of the park's reopening. Three large stones situated at the base honor Irby, Salazar, and Romero, and are surrounded by a fence with 17 posts, one for each of the people hurt.

"They'll never be forgotten," said Morgan Hill City Councilmember Yvonne Martinez Beltran. "It was very emotional walking up and just seeing what was here. I personally wanted to come for a sense of community."

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Both Miller Road and park trails will now be open for community access, according to the city of Gilroy.

"It gives us something positive for us to focus on, and brings people together to want to do good in our community and good in the world," said Gilroy police chief Scot Smithee.

Access to certain parts of the park will be limited, however, to allow newly planted grass to grow.

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