Festival gunman’s social media suggests white supremacy ties
Police traced the alleged gunman’s movements to this residential street Monday, searching the suspect’s car. They also confiscated several items from a home associated with him in California and searched a home in Nevada where he was believed to have lived.
Investigators said three weeks ago the suspect legally purchased an AK-47 style assault rifle in Nevada. Sunday afternoon he walked about a half mile from his car to the festival where he cut through a fence. That day he had posted at least two images to Instagram, one showing the fairgrounds and another that referred to an author with white nationalist views and contained a derogatory reference to mixed race people.
It was around 5:40 p.m. when dispatchers received the first 911 calls. The gunman shot more than a dozen people, leaving three dead, before he was killed by law enforcement.
“I just remember bullets flying past me as I was running. I remember feeling the heat hit my legs after I got up,” said Justin Bates, who was grazed by several bullets.
His friend Nick McFarland, who was also injured, is still trying to process what happened.
“It’s just, thinking that it could happen right here in our own hometown and I actually – we got hit? Like, what happened? Why?”
In a Facebook post, the gun shop that sold the weapon to the suspect said it was purchased online and they saw no reason for concern when he picked up the gun in person.
Among the dead are 6-year-old Stephen Romero, who was playing at an inflatable bounce house before being shot in the back, and 13-year-old Keyla Salazar. She would have celebrated her 14th birthday on Saturday. The oldest victim was 25-year-old Trevor Irby, a recent college graduate who was enjoying the festival with his girlfriend.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom renewed his calls for stricter gun laws, especially on assault-style firearms he referred to as “weapons of mass destruction.” Law enforcement say the number of casualties could have been much greater if responding officers had not taken down the gunman when they did after the shooting began.
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