Vigil held after mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival

Community rallies around victim's families

By Kyla Linville

GILROY, Calif. - A community vigil was held Monday night in Gilroy to commemorate the lives lost after the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. The vigil was held at the Plaza between the Gilroy Library and Gilroy City Hall, where people showed support for those impacted and stood "Gilroy Strong".

Guest speakers from the Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco and Senator Bill Monning, both spoke about the tragedy and said this will make the community of Gilroy stronger. The evening followed with a candle lighting and a moment of silence for the three victims who lost their lives, 6-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, both from San Jose, and 20-year-old Trevor Irby from New York.

"We love Gilroy, it's a small town," said Tanya Luna of Gilroy. "We're just showing the world that we can all get together, be strong and pull it together just like the rest of the world with these tragedies."

"It's really sad," expressed Crystal Gomez of Gilroy. "Especially being born and raised here, I use to volunteer at the festival all the time. It hurts."

Members of surrounding communities showing their support, each expressed their tie to the tragedy.

"My nieces' friend is in the ICU right now, we're sending her our prayers," said Simona Arizpe of Watsonville.

"We got shaken up. We started to contact all our friends to make sure they were okay, but my one friend Bob, he didn't contact us for about an hour. I was worried about him," explained Robert Jaime of Watsonville emotionally. "You know it's just heartbreaking. It didn't need to happen. Gilroy's a good town, they've always had a good rep. It's just tragic."

The organizer for the vigil is David Almeida of Gilroy. He said he felt the need to put the vigil together after hearing it had gone national. He said he was shocked at the number of people who responded.

"With this, we're going to come out stronger than we were before," said Almeida.

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