- A gunman opened fire at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, killing three and injuring at least 12 others.
- Police killed the gunman within a minute and are still investigating a motive.
- The victims have since been identified and include two children.
A shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California left three victims dead on Sunday evening, including two children.
The festival was winding down when a gunman moved past a nearby creek and cut through a fence, bypassing security at the festival’s entrance. At around 5:40 pm, the suspect began firing at guests.
At least 12 other attendees were injured in the attack that took place about 30 miles outside of San Jose. Within a minute, police responded and killed the shooter. Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said Monday that three officers managed to shoot the gunman.
He added that the incident would have been more deadly had officers not responded so quickly.
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s office identified the victims as 6-year-old Stephen Romero of San Jose, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar of San Jose, and 25-year-old Trevor Irby from Romulus, New York.
Stephen, who turned 6-years-old just last month, died at St. Louise Regional Hospital hours after he was shot in the back. He had attended the festival with his mother and grandmother. They were also shot in the attack, but survived after medical treatment.
His uncle, Noe Romero, described Stephen as an outgoing and loving child in an interview with the San Francisco Chronical. The boy’s uncle even nicknamed him “El Romancito,” for his button-down shirts, polished manners, and love of sultry R&B ballads by his favorite artist, The Weeknd, according to the paper.
“He wouldn’t leave the house unless he had cologne on,” his uncle added.
Alberto Romero, the boy’s father. told NBC Bay Area, “My son had his whole life to live and he was only 6.”
Keyla Salazar would have turned 14-years-old on August 4 and was set to start ninth-grade this fall. She was shot in the chest while trying to flee the scene with family members.
Her aunt, Katiuska Pimentel, told Mercury News on Monday that her niece was a compassionate and loving young girl.
“She wanted to build her own YouTube channel and her dream was to draw animations for video games and movies,” Pimentel said. “It’s a shock for all of her family. We cant believe it, that it’s happening.”
Trevor Irby was a 2017 graduate from Keuka College in New York who attended the festival with his girlfriend. Irby had recently moved to Santa Cruz with his girlfriend and was working as a medical assistant at a nursing home.
“Trevor was a brother, a son, a grandson, a boyfriend, a best friend and a bright light to all who knew him,” a GoFundMe page set up by his friends reads.
“Trevor was an excellent pillar of the Keuka College & Romulus communities and a kind & positive soul. Trevor will forever live on in the memory of his loved ones.”
Hundreds of people attended a vigil at City Hall in Gilroy on Monday to honor the victims. GoFundMe pages have also been created to raise funds for their families and funeral costs.
The 19-year-old male responsible for the shooting was indentified as a resident of the town.
FBI Agent in Charge Craig Fair said investigators were working to determine a motive for the attack, are exploring any ideological leanings, and are working to learn whether the attacker was affiliated with any group.
Several news sites have been pointing to social media posts allegedly written by the shooter, which include references to a 1890s racist manifesto popular with neo-Nazis.
However, officials say that the targets appeared to have been shot at random, but added that they are still in the early stages of their investigation.
Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details. Instead, we will be linking to the GoFundMe pages of the victims.
Video Shows High School Coach Hugging Student After Disarming Him
- A high school athletic coach in Oregon is being hailed a hero for disarming a teen with a shotgun and then embracing him as he cried in newly released surveillance video.
- Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that the student was not planning to carry out a mass shooting but instead showed signs that he was planning to take his own life.
- He was sentenced to 36 months of probation and will receive mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Surveillance footage released Friday shows a high school athletic coach in Oregon disarming a student carrying a loaded shotgun, then embracing the teen who broke down in tears.
The video, released by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, shows the incident which took place on May 17 at Parkrose High School. In it, Coach Keanon Lowe is seen moving away from the 18-year-old student and holding the shotgun out of his reach in the hallway.
Lowe appears to be talking to the student and keeping him at a distance with one hand until a nearby teacher grabs the gun from Lowe and moves away with it.
Once the gun is out of the picture, Lowe wraps his arms around the student, who starts to cry. At times it looks like the student tries to break free of the hug, but Lowe continues his hold and the teen gives in.
Student’s Suicide Attempt
The district attorney’s office said the student had been suicidal for months leading up to the incident.
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree evidence suggested this was not a potential mass shooting case. Instead, the student’s attorney, Adam Thayne, explained to the judge that the teen planned to take his own life at the school so that his mother would not have to discover his body. Authorities say the gun was loaded with one round, marked with the words, “The last red pill 5-17-19 just for me.”
Another student who had noticed the teen’s troubled state of mind reported him to the administration for “suicidal statements.” Lowe was on his way to bring the teen into the school’s office when the incident happened.
The district attorney said the student was “visibly upset” as he headed for the classroom where Lowe had just arrived. The student then pulled out the firearm from beneath his coat, prompting students and staff to flee.
The district attorney said he turned the gun on himself and tried to fire, but the weapon did not discharge. That’s when Lowe took action.
“I saw the look in his face, look in his eyes, looked at the gun, realized it was a real gun, and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe said at a press conference after the incident. “I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun.”
“I felt compassion for him. A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over,” Lowe explained.
“Obviously, he broke down and I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him. I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living.”
No shots were fired that day thanks to fate and Lowe’s quick action.
The coach, who was a former team captain and wide receiver at the University of Oregon, has earned widespread praise for his bravery and compassion towards the student.
The day after the incident he tweeted more about what happened, saying, “When confronted with the test the universe presented me with, I didn’t see any other choice but to act. Thank God, I passed. I’ve spent the last 24 hours being more appreciative of my family and realizing we have
The student pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in a public building and one count of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public on Oct. 10.
He was ordered to serve 36 months of probation. As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, he will also receive mental health and substance abuse treatment.
“He is deeply remorseful for the pain that he has caused his family, his friends and the community,” his lawyer told the presiding judge, adding that he “has a lot of people who care about him, despite what he thought back in May.”
Woman Who Live-Streamed Her Sister’s Death Arrested Again, Weeks After Early Prison Release
- Obdulia Sanchez made national headlines in 2017 when she live-streamed a drunken car crash that resulted in the graphic death of her 14-year-old sister.
- She was sentenced to six years in prison but was released late last month after serving a little over two years.
- But just weeks after her release, Sanchez was arrested again after a short police chase and car crash.
Obdulia Sanchez Arrested Again
The California woman who served time in prison for killing her sister in a drunken car crash on Instagram live was arrested again, just weeks after her early release.
Obdulia Sanchez, now 20-years-old, was arrested in Stockton on Thursday after a short police pursuit. Local authorities said she refused to stop when officers attempted to pull her over at around 1:30 am.
Sanchez eventually crashed her vehicle near a highway on-ramp where another male passenger in the car was able to run out. The male suspect managed to escape police, but Sanchez was arrested. She now faces traffic and weapons charges.
Authorities said she was on parole and driving on a revoked license. Officers also say they found a loaded gun in the car.
Recent Release and Previous Crimes
Sanchez was released on parole late last month after she served more than two years in prison for a previous crash.
In July 2017, Sanchez was drunk driving and live streaming on Instagram when she crashed her car, killing her 14-year-old sister Jacqueline Sanchez Estrada. and injuring another passenger.
The graphic incident made national headlines. On the stream, Sanchez’s hands could be seen leaving the wheel before she swerved and then overcorrected. Her sister, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the vehicle.
“I fucking killed my sister, okay? I know I’m going to jail for life, all right?” Sanchez can be heard saying to her sister, who appeared to be already dead. “Ima hold it down. I love you, rest in peace, sweetie.”
Later reports explained that Sanchez had tested positive for alcohol and cocaine. Sanchez was heavily criticized online for continuing to stream after the crash, showing her sister’s dead body.
In a public letter written from behind bars, she wrote, “I made that video because I knew I had more than 5,000 followers. It was the only way my sister would get a decent burial. I would never expose my sister like that. I anticipated the public donating money because my family isn’t rich.”
Sanchez was ultimately convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI and child endangerment. She was sentenced to six years and four months in prison with the possibility of parole after three years.
The state corrections office said Sanchez was approved for early release after earning credit for good behavior, for attending rehabilitation programs, and for time served in jail before she was sentenced.
Chicago Teachers Strike Over Pay, Class Sizes, and More
- Around 25,000 teachers and educational staff members in Chicago began striking Thursday, leaving 300,000 kids out of class.
- The Chicago Teachers Union is demanding higher pay, smaller class sizes, as well as more nurses, social workers, counselors, and librarians.
- The city’s mayor and Chicago Public Schools have announced plans that include these demands, but the Union says the contract language does not hold CPS accountable enough for these terms.
- While the strike continues, schools will be open even though classes are canceled. Principals and associate principals will still on campuses, and breakfast and lunch will sill be served.
Chicago Public School’s Plan
Around 25,000 teachers and educational employees in Chicago began striking Thursday morning, demanding higher pay, smaller class sizes, and more efficient staffing.
The strike was announced Wednesday night when Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers’ Union failed to reach a deal. Chicago is home to the third-largest school district in the country, which means close to 300,000 students have been left without classes to attend.
CPS’s announced a plan that would, among other things, raise teachers’ salaries by 16% over the course of five years. According to Fox Business, the starting salary for Chicago teachers is already the highest in the state of Illinois, coming close to $53,000 a year. By the end of this five-year time period, that salary would increase to $72,000. CPS Says that the average salary would be close to $100,000.
Their plan also included adding a nurse to every school by 2024 and doubling the number of social workers.
What the Union Wants
CTU was not satisfied with the offer. First, they thought that CPS’s numbers were wrong and that the average salary would only get to $85,000. Raises were also not the only issue at stake for them.
CTU is asking for a hard cap on class sizes and for teachers to receive a stipend if that cap is ever exceeded. They want support for hiring social workers, counselors, nurses and other positions at recommended ratios, as well as a librarian and restorative justice coordinator in every school.
Another priority for them is to make sure these positions, social workers in particular, have an appropriate workload. Some schools have counselors that only come in a couple of days a week but have around 100 cases to work on. So, when they are unavailable, teachers find that they end up acting as counselors themselves.
While CPS’s plan did include increases for nurses and social workers, the CTU says it is not enough. They say that CPS is not putting the exact terms in the contract language allowing them to not be held explicitly accountable for these terms. Even when CPS added more to their plan in regards to these demands earlier this month, CTU still criticized the contract language.
Mayor Lightfoot’s Role
On Thursday morning, Chicago Mayor, Lori Lightfoot held a press conference regarding the strike. She maintained that the union was being offered a good package and that she hoped for a deal to be reached.
“We don’t have unlimited resources, but having said that, we put very generous offers on the table both for teachers and support personnel,” she said. “And I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to bring them back to the table and resolve all the open issues.”
Lightfoot is new to the role. She took office in May, making this one of the first hurdles she has had to face as mayor.
The CTU is accusing her of not fulfilling campaign promises As far as staffing, they claim she fully supported hiring full-time nurses, social workers, and librarians, but that she has rejected contract language that would hold CPS accountable for this.
The Union also claimed that she supported additional counselors. Now, however, she and CPS “want to issue tentative assignments for next year by June 15 instead of May 15, creating more uncertainty for educators.”
What Is Being Said at the Strike
Frustrations with Lightfoot were made clear during the strike, with reports saying participants chanted things like “Lightfoot Lightfoot, get on the right foot.”
A Chicago Sun-Times reporter spoke to a teacher who mentioned Lightfoot. He said he was not looking forward to striking but added, “We’re teachers. Sometimes we’ve got to teach the mayor.”
CTU’s President, Jesse Sharkey, attended a strike outside of an elementary school and defended their demands.
“Our demands are significant, and we have real demands, but that’s because the needs are significant,” he said according to the Chicago Sun-Times. We ask for a lot because we give a lot. All of our schools here deal with real traumas, and we need support.”
Options for Students
Because of the strike, Chicago has to find something to do for the hundreds of thousands of students who do not have classes to attend. Lightfoot said that while classes are off, the schools will be open during their normal hours. Principals and Associate Principals will be on hand, and breakfast and lunch will still be served.
Other camps and the YMCA are also offering programs, though unlike the schools, they will not be free.
But not all students are taking the day off. Some are supporting their teachers and attending the strike. The Chicago Sun-Times spoke to Senior Jude Greneir who went to hand out snacks and beverages.
“My teachers are striking so everyone has equal resources,” she told them. “I hope the city understands. My school is very lucky, but every school needs a nurse and proper resources for their children.”
Another senior, Anthony Jordan, joined his teachers in a picket line.
“I want to support my teachers because they taught me everything I know,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “Our class sizes are too large. We really do need more nurses. It’s worth being out here because it’s for a good cause. It will help us all in the end.”
Right now, it is unclear how long the strike will last. Lightfoot said a deal could be struck as early as today, but members of CTU do not anticipate that soon of an end. Schools will remain closed for class until further notice.