The teenage gunman who began shooting people at a California garlic festival posted hate-filled messages against mixed-race people and said he was “angry” just before he opened fire on the California crowd on Monday.
“Why are you doing this?” one unidentified attendee of the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival gathering could be heard yelling seconds after Santino William Legan, 19, began shooting with his AK-47-style rifle.
“Because I’m really angry,” came the response, according to survivor Jack van Breen. His rock band, Tin Man, had just launched into an encore in the final hours of the three-day festival when Legan opened fire.
Just moments after the exchange, Legan was shot dead by cops, putting an end to a rampage that killed three people — including a 6-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl — and wounded a dozen more.
Because Legan was not able to give answers on what fueled his rampage, local and federal investigators were still searching for a motive Monday.
This includes a review of body-camera footage and extensive interviews with Legan’s friends and family. They are well known in Gilroy, the quaint Northern California town of 50,000 people, where he lived.
Legan’s apparent Instagram account provided just a glimpse into his hatred.
“Ayyy garlic festival time,” read the caption on one Instagram photo of the event posted shortly before the attack by a since-deleted account bearing Legan’s name. “Come get wasted on overpriced s–t.”
A caption on a second photo praised an obscure 19th-century manifesto embraced by white supremacists for its vile views.
“Read Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard,” urges the caption. “Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white tw-ts?”
“Mestizo” is a slur against people of mixed racial heritage, often white and Hispanic.
That caption was attached to a photo of Smokey Bear holding a sign with a double entendre: “Fire danger high today!”
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee confirmed that investigators believe Legan had been staying for some time with relatives in Nevada, where he legally purchased the rapid-fire assault weapon on July 9.
Speaking early Monday at an unrelated White House ceremony, President Trump lashed out at Legan not as the quiet son of a connected family raised on a well-kept street, but as the destroyer of American lives.
“While families were spending time together at a local festival, a wicked murderer opened fire and killed three innocent citizens, including a young child,” Trump said.