Suicide, not police, killed California festival gunman

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office said 19-year-old Santino William Legan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (File/AFP)
Updated 03 August 2019

Suicide, not police, killed California festival gunman

  • The gunman killed three people — including two children — and injured 13 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday
  • Authorities say they have not yet been able to determine his motive

LOS ANGELES: The gunman who opened fire on a California food festival killed himself after officers shot him multiple times, officials said Friday, correcting previous police accounts that the officers fired the fatal bullet.
Police gave the update soon after the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office said 19-year-old Santino William Legan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Legan killed three people — including two children — and injured 13 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday. Authorities say they have not yet been able to determine his motive.
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee told reporters that the timeline remains the same: Three veteran police officers responded in less than a minute and fired multiple rounds when Legan turned his AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle on them. Smithee said the officers hit him multiple times, and he fell to the ground with the rifle.
“He was able to get one more round off, and he was able to shoot himself in the head,” the police chief said.
Smithee said he was “a little surprised” to hear that Legan had shot himself. “I don’t think that changes anything about the heroics of our officers,” he said.
The chief did not know how many times police fired at him or how many bullets struck him. A full coroner’s report is pending.
Legan killed 6-year-old Stephen Romero and 13-year-old Keyla Salazar of San Jose, along with Trevor Irby, 25, of Romulus, New York, on the last day of the long-running festival. It draws more than 100,000 people with music, food booths and cooking classes to the city roughly 80 miles (129 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco.
John Bennett, the FBI’s special agent in charge in San Francisco, has said Legan did not appear to be targeting a particular group and that he did not seem to follow a specific ideology.
Legan’s social media raised questions after he urged his Instagram followers on the day of the attack to read a 19th-century book popular with white supremacists on extremist websites. Profilers were working to determine a motive through interviews and combing through physical and digital evidence.
Officials say their investigation has not shown that anyone else was involved.
But authorities arrested a man earlier this week on suspicion of making threats online that apparently referenced the deadly shooting. Jose Pinon, 40, of Gilroy, posted Wednesday on Facebook that “my goal is to kill 500, not three,” Gilroy police said.
Police Capt. Joseph Deras said officials did not seize any weapons from Pinon’s home Thursday and do not believe he was planning an attack.
A 22-year-old man, whom police did not identify, posted on Facebook soon after the shooting that he had participated — prompting a SWAT response to his Gilroy home. He was arrested on unrelated warrants, but police did not charge him in connection with his Facebook post because authorities did not believe he had any “criminal intent,” Deras said.


Biden expected to nominate Blinken as secretary of state

Updated 50 min 51 sec ago

Biden expected to nominate Blinken as secretary of state

  • Antony Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden
  • Biden has pledged to build the most diverse government in modern history, and he and his team often speak about their desire for his administration to reflect America

WASHINGTON: President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team’s planning.
Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. If nominated and confirmed, he would be a leading force in the incoming administration’s bid to reframe the US relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances.
In nominating Blinken, Biden would sidestep potentially thorny issues that could have affected Senate confirmation for two other candidates on his short list to be America’s top diplomat: Susan Rice and Sen. Chris Coons.
Rice would have faced significant GOP opposition and likely rejection in the Senate. She has long been a target of Republicans, including for statements she made after the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lacked the granular experience in managing day-to-day foreign policy issues that Blinken would bring to the job.
Biden is likely to name his Cabinet picks in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once. Advisers to the president-elect’s transition have said they’ll make their first Cabinet announcements on Tuesday.
If Biden focuses on national security that day, Michèle Flournoy, a veteran of Pentagon policy jobs, is a top choice to lead the Defense Department. Jake Sullivan, a longtime adviser to Biden and Hillary Clinton, is also in the mix for a top job, including White House national security adviser.
For his part, Blinken recently participated in a national security briefing with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.
Biden’s secretary of state would inherit a deeply demoralized and depleted career workforce at the State Department. Trump’s two secretaries of state, Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo, offered weak resistance to the administration’s attempts to gut the agency, which were thwarted only by congressional intervention.
Although the department escaped massive proposed cuts of more than 30% in its budget for three consecutive years, it has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, from which many diplomats have opted to retire or leave the foreign service given limited prospects for advancements under an administration that they believe does not value their expertise.
A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement.
“Democracy is in retreat around the world, and unfortunately it’s also in retreat at home because of the president taking a two-by-four to its institutions, its values and its people every day,” Blinken told The Associated Press in September. “Our friends know that Joe Biden knows who they are. So do our adversaries. That difference would be felt on day one.”
Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser before he moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Biden also is expected to tap longtime diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the US ambassador to the United Nations.
Biden has pledged to build the most diverse government in modern history, and he and his team often speak about their desire for his administration to reflect America. He is being watched to see whether he will make history by nominating the first woman to lead the Pentagon, the Treasury Department or the Department of Veterans Affairs or the first African American at the top of the Defense Department, the Interior Department or the Treasury Department.
Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said Sunday the Trump administration’s refusal to clear the way for Biden’s team to have access to key information about agencies and federal dollars for the transition is taking its toll on planning, including the Cabinet selection process. Trump’s General Services Administration has yet to acknowledge that Biden won the election — a determination that would remove those roadblocks.
“We’re not in a position to get background checks on Cabinet nominees. And so there are definite impacts. Those impacts escalate every day,” Klain told ABC’s “This Week.”
Even some Republicans have broken with Trump in recent days and called on him to begin the transition. Joining the growing list were Sens. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a longtime Trump supporter, told ABC that it was time for the president to stop contesting the outcome and called Trump’s legal team seeking to overturn the election a “national embarrassment.”
Meanwhile, planning was underway for a pandemic-modified inauguration Jan. 20. Klain said the Biden team was consulting with Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate over their plans.
“They’re going to try to have an inauguration that honors the importance and the symbolic meaning of the moment, but also does not result in the spread of the disease. That’s our goal,” Klain said.