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Cops Thought They Killed Garlic Fest Gunman. Coroner Says Otherwise

Santino William Legan took his own life, medical examiner finds
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2019 7:30 AM CDT
In this July 29, 2019, file photo FBI personnel pass a ticket booth at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, the morning after a gunman killed multiple people and wounded more than a dozen others.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

(Newser) – The gunman who killed three young people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California on Sunday wasn't killed by police, as originally reported. That from the Santa Clara County medical examiner, who now says that 19-year-old Santino William Legan killed himself, the Los Angeles Times reports. Legan died of an "intra-oral" gunshot wound that was self-inflicted, a coroner's rep said, which seems to counter the police narrative that three officers "engaged" Legan within a minute of when he started shooting and shot him dead, per USA Today.

Still, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said as far as he's concerned, the new finding doesn't alter what happened, explaining that the three cops in question did indeed rush Legan and open fire with their handguns, hitting the gunman "multiple times" before Legan "was able to get a round off" on himself with his AK-47-style rifle. Smithee says the officers simply didn't realize Legan had done so. "The officers still got there fast ... they eliminated the threat," he says, adding the medical examiner's findings were preliminary. "Whether he fired that final shot, in my mind, changes nothing." (Read more Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting stories.)

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