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Gilroy Garlic Festival vendors stranded at shelter and reeling from tragedy

FBI: Belongings considered part of crime scene

Gilroy Garlic Festival vendors stranded at shelter and reeling from tragedy

GILROY, Calif. - Many of those who were evacuated at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Sunday have yet to be reunited with their belongings.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter for those who are left stranded while waiting to get access to their cars and other items. That shelter is now at Christopher High School.

Gilroy Police says the FBI is in the process of securing and documenting the items left at the festival and that could take several more days. 

“For things to change like that, it’s ridiculous, in an instant,” said Dave Davies.

The vendor from Orange County has been serving up funnel cakes at the Gilroy Garlic Festival since 1993. Like many, he heard some popping sounds Sunday and hoped it was fireworks.

“I grabbed him, laid on top of them. The whole thing was lay as low as you can try to stay out of the line of vision if he comes inside our tent. He was about 40 feet away,” said Davies, describing how he sprang into action to protect his wife and son. 

Davies said he heard “really terrible chaos” for a solid seven to ten minutes. 

“Just seeing some really really gruesome stuff,” said Davies. 

Then someone yelled to get up and get out. He says his wife saw the youngest victim as they ran for their lives and their 7-year-old son, Paul, quickly realized what was happening.

“He kept saying the same thing over and over again, no answer the question, kids are being hurt? What’s going on? We said yes and he started crying,” said Davies. 

Davies and his family are seeking refuge at the Red Cross Shelter at Christopher High School, where he and about 30 others have received food, a cot and access to first aid. 

“The FBI has locked down the whole area as a crime scene and until they’re able to process it, they’re not letting people in or out,” explains Red Cross Shelter Manager Tom Tanner. 

So out of area vendors like Davies and Diallo McLinn are in a holding pattern while their cell phones, wallets, and vehicles remain on lockdown.

“I’m a Lyft driver so my Lyft car is behind the stage supposedly where the shooter got in so it may be there for another day or two,” said McLinn, a Garlic Festival vendor and Lyft driver. 

The Red Cross says they plan to stay open until the FBI can reunite people with their property and those staying at the shelter say they’re thankful to be safe and are praying for the victims and their families.

"Things can be replaced, the product can be replaced. Our loved ones, our family, our friends, those are more precious,” said Mike Portis, Gilroy Garlic Festival Vendor.

Fire officials told us late Monday evening that there was a potential for some vendors to be reunited with their vehicles Tuesday. A time or specific portion of the parking lot was not specified but drivers must have their keys on them to retrieve their cars as they will not be allowed back to the booths. 

City officials will also be stopping by Christopher High School at some point Tuesday to give an update and answer questions. 


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