4 dead in California shooting, including suspected gunman

A gunman killed at least three people at a California food festival on Sunday (July 28) before being shot dead by police, and police were hunting for a second person they believed was involved in the killing.

About 15 people were wounded during the mass shooting at the three-day Gilroy Garlic Festival in northern California, some of them hurt in the crush of bystanders trying to flee, police said.

Police reached the scene within a minute of the first shots ringing out at 5.45pm and officers shot and killed the gunman moments later, according to Mr Scot Smithee, who heads the Gilroy Police Department.

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A second person "was involved in some way, we just don’t know in what way", Mr Smithee said. "We have no idea of a motive," he added.

Smithee said the gunman had cut through a fence to get into the annual Garlic Festival in Gilroy, 48km south-east of the city of San Jose.

Aerial footage showed the festival grounds apparently deserted but with many emergency and police vehicles on surrounding streets and police in bullet-proof gear.

"Be careful and safe!" United States President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.

Videos posted on social media appear to show visitors to the festival scattering in fear and confusion as at least one loud popping sound is heard in the background.

"What's going on?" a woman is heard asking in one video. "Who'd shoot up a garlic festival?"

Evenny Reyes, 13, told the San Jose Mercury News that at first, she thought the sound of gunfire was fireworks.

But then she saw someone with a wounded leg.

"We were just leaving and we saw a guy with a bandanna wrapped around his leg because he got shot," she told the newspaper. "There was a little kid hurt on the ground. People were throwing tables and cutting fences to get out."

Another witness, Mr Maximo Rocha, a volunteer with the Gilroy Browns youth football team, said he saw many people on the ground, but he could not be sure how many had been shot and how many were trying to protect themselves.

He told NBC Bay Area that "quite a few" were injured, "because I helped a few".

Stagehand Shawn Viaggi told the Mercury News he heard gunshots and saw bullets hitting the ground.

"I called out, ‘It’s a real gun, let’s get out of here,’ and we hid under the stage," Mr Viaggi told the newspaper, adding that he saw police officers trying to resuscitate one man.

Founded in 1979, the three-day Gilroy Garlic Festival features food, drink, entertainment and cooking competitions. It says it is hosted by volunteers and describes itself as the world's greatest summer food festival.

It was being held at the outdoor Christmas Hill Park, where weapons of any kind are prohibited, according to the event’s website.

To provide a safe, family-friendly atmosphere, it said, entry is refused to anyone wearing clothing or paraphernalia indicating membership in a gang, including a motorcycle club.

Festival officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.