Three people were killed and at least 15 others injured in a shooting at a major food festival in California on Sunday, police said .
Officers confronted and shot dead the suspect “ in less than a minute , ” said Scot Smithee , police chief of the city of Gilroy, 30 miles ( 48 kilometres ) southeast of San Jose .
Police said it was “still an active crime scene ” at the site of the three- day Gilroy Garlic Festival, one of the largest food festivals in the country .
A search for a possible second suspect was ongoing, Smithee said .
“ We believe based on witness statements that there was a second individual involved in some way, we just don’ t know in what way, ” he told journalists .
Footage showed people fleeing in terror as shots rang out.
A witness named Julissa Contreras told NBC a white man in his 30 s armed with a rifle opened fire indiscriminately.
“ I could see him shooting in just every direction .
He wasn’ t aiming at anyone specifically .
It was just left to right , right to left, ” Contreras said , according to NBC.
“ He definitely was prepared for what he was doing , ” she said .
Smithee said the suspect appeared to have entered the 50- acre festival site via a creek, using cutting equipment to breach the event ’ s perimeter .
Metal detectors and bag searches were in place as part of “very tight security ” at the festival , he said .
No motive was known but the suspect’ s shooting appeared “ somewhat random , ” Smithee added .
The suspect used “ some sort of a rifle , ” he said .
US President Donald Trump earlier tweeted that law enforcement officers were at “ the scene of shootings ” in Gilroy, urging members of the public to “ Be careful and safe!”
The Gilroy Garlic Festival features live entertainment including bands and cooking competitions as well as food and drink and draws nearly 100 , 000 people over three days each year , according to organizers .
The family event is a major focal point for the small city of around 50, 000 .
California Governor Gavin Newsom said the incident was “ nothing short of horrific. ”
“ Tonight, ( California ) stands with the Gilroy community.
My office is monitoring the situation closely , ” he tweeted .
“ Grateful for the law enforcement’ s efforts and their continued work as this situation develops . ”
The Mercury News reported that the shooting took place as the festival was winding down .
Stagehand Shawn Viaggi hit the ground after hearing “ loud pops , ” it said .
“ I called out , ‘ It’ s a real gun, let’ s get out of here, ’ and we hid under the stage , ” Viaggi said , according to the newspaper .
Thirteen – year – old Evenny Reyes told the paper that “ we were just leaving and we saw a guy with a bandana wrapped around his leg because he got shot .
And there were people on the ground , crying. ”
“ There was a little kid hurt on the ground . People were throwing tables and cutting fences to get out, ” said Reyes .
“ The hearts of Gilroy PD and entire community go out to the victims of today ’ s shooting at the Garlic Festival, ” the local police department tweeted .
“ Grateful to first responders who are on the scene in Gilroy and keeping those injured by such senseless violence in my thoughts , ” Senator Kamala Harris , who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, wrote on Twitter.
San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo tweeted : “Praying for lives and recoveries of each of the shooting victims at # GilroyGarlicFestival .
We will continue to support our neighbours in any way we can . ”
Shootings are a frequent occurrence in the United States , but despite the scale of the gun violence problem in the country , efforts to address it legislatively have long been largely deadlocked at the federal level.
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