Community members come together to show they are "Gilroy Strong"

Close-knit community helping those in need

Community members come together to show they are "Gilroy Strong"

GILORY, Calif. - The City of Gilroy is going through difficult circumstances that's impacting everyone in the tight-knit city.

On Sunday, a shooting happened at the Garlic Festival, killing three people and injuring several others.

Now, people who live in the community, say the violence is brining them closer.

"We're Gilroy and we're strong," said lifetime resident Raquel Aceves.

Acesves lives just a few blocks from Christmas Hill Park, where the festival is held.

She said in spite of the violence, Gilroy will rally around each other so everyone can begin the healing process.

"We're small, but we're mighty and we can get over this," Aceves said. "It might take some time, we're a big family. We can get through this no matter what."

Like Aceves, Gilroy mayor Roland Velasco shared the same feelings, believing the city will hold tight as it mourns those who families directly impacted by the deadly shooting.

"We are resilient and we will get through this," Velasco said during a Monday morning press conference. "We intend to come out of this horrible event in a stronger, and obviously, closer community."

Near Gilroy High School, close to Christmas Hill Park where the shooting happened, Gilroy resident Jacob Newman said Monday he believes the tragedy is just beginning to sink in for many.

"I think it's starting to settle down with a lot of people," said Newman. "I think ultimately you'll see people that come out and are willing to support others that need help."

While Newman has only lived in Gilroy for about two years, he said there is a noticeable closeness within the community you only typically see in small towns.

"I think people are going to work hard to support each other and to let each other know that we're here for each other," said Newman. "Nobody stands above this issue and we're all together involved in it."

For many, they're not only emotional about the shooting, but also the fact that it happened at the Garlic Festival, a beloved community event that annually raises tens of thousands of dollars for many local non-profit organizations.

"It's an amazing event," said Newman. "Sadly I think it's going to be branded in a negative manner, just because of one event, so I think the community is upset about that. Obviously over the loss of life and feeling for the families that were directly affected by the shooting."

Still, people in Gilroy remain optimistic the city's marquee event will continue to be an important part of what makes their community special.

"I think we'll bounce back," said Gilroy resident Kathy Schwacofer. "I think it will (be affected) for a while, but I think they'll show tremendous respect for the victims, but I think it will be bounce back."

A community vigil was scheduled Monday night at St. Mary's Parish.

A big turnout was expected at the prominent Catholic church.

The event certainly won't be the first or last public gathering where the people of Gilroy come out to support each other.

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