Keyla Salazar, who would have been 14 on August 4, had stayed behind to help a relative who had a cane when she was shot dead by a gunman at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on July 30, 2019

A 13-year-old girl Keyla Salazar, killed by a gunman at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California, had stayed behind to walk with a relative who had to use a cane.

“I have no words to describe this pain I’m feeling, Keyla you are an angel and we will miss you with all of our hearts. You were too young to be taken from us. We are all devastated and broken and need time to heal and process,” her aunt Katiuska Pimentel Vargas wrote on Facebook.

Pimentel Vargas told the Associated Press that her niece was eating ice cream with family members when they heard gunshots and began to flee. Salazar stayed behind to keep pace with a relative who uses a cane to walk and was shot with a bullet that otherwise might have hit the woman she was waiting for, she said.

Keyla Salazar, 13, was identified late Monday (local time) by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office, as the third victim fatally shot by 19-year-old gunman Santino William Legan at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Six-year-old Stephen Romero, college graduate Trevor Irby and Salazar were killed when Legan open-fired at the festival before turning his “AK-47-type assault rifle” at police officers who responded to the incident. Legan was fatally shot by police. At least 11 other people were injured.

Pimentel Vargas told BuzzFeed News her niece would have turned 14 on August 4 and was about to start ninth grade.

“We just want Keyla to be remembered as someone that is beautiful,” Pimentel Vargas said. “She really cared a lot about other people. She loved animals. She had big dreams and aspirations and her life was cut short.”

A car dealership in Gilroy launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for Salazar’s parents. Bob Mann, the page’s organiser, wrote that South County Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram staff support the festival annually.

“Together we can help with this heartbreaking loss,” Mann wrote. The page had US$36,000 pledged at time of publication with the target UD$50,000.

Alberto Romero confirmed to NBC Bay Area on Sunday night that his six-year-old son Stephen was killed.

“My son had his whole life to live and he was only six,” Romero said. “That’s all I can say.”Keyla-Salazar-garlic-festival.jpeg