GoFundMe's Set Up For Multiple Victims From the Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting
Everyone here at Monterey Bay Food Tours, as with everyone on the Monterey Peninsula, is reeling from the tragedy that occurred on Sunday, July 28th, when a shooting took place at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Words cannot express our condolences to those who have lost loved ones, nor to those who have sustained injuries. We wish this violence would never happen.
That being said, unfortunately, it does. However, tragedy also has a way of bringing people closer, and our community has come together to help those in need. If you’re wondering what you can do to help, please keep reading.
The Honey Ladies
A truly horrific story, Wendy Towner and her husband, Francisco Aguilera, saw the shooter, Santino William Legan, come through a fence. According to this article from the New York Post, Wendy called out that he couldn’t enter like that, which brought all of his attention to them. They were the first two shot, and they fell to the ground and pretended to be dead when the shooter asked them if they were all right. They maintain that if they had responded to him, he may have finished the job.
Their 3-year-old son, witnessing the action, ran toward them instinctively, and was saved by a 10-year-old girl who pulled him underneath a table with her to protect him from the violence.
Wendy and Francisco were at the festival working as vendors for their business, The Honey Ladies. They take endangered bees and safely relocate them to farms where they can feed on wildflowers. From there, they harvest the honey, and each jar sold helps save more hives.
On top of their GoFundMe page to help raise money for their medical bills, the Joseph Boston Store, who sells their products, is also taking donations. Anyone who makes a donation will receive a free Honey Ladies honey stick, and all proceeds will go to their campaign. Additionally, our Old Monterey Food Tour will include tastings of the honey to help boost sales.
Brynn Ota, a chef at Bantam restaurant in Santa Cruz, was shot in the back and remains in hospital care. She, too, has a GoFundMe page set up by her mother requesting help for coverage of the surgery. She was shot alongside one of her coworkers, who sustained mild injuries and has already been released from hospital care.
According to Brynn’s GoFundMe page, she is uninsured and already being approached about payment for her care. The bullet, lodged inside of her liver, will also prevent her from returning to work for at least a month. For the most part, by the request of both Brynn and the hospital, major details are kept anonymous. An update to the page, however, states that she has been moved out of the ICU and will hopefully be able to try walking and eating within a few days.
A Moment for the Lives Lost
Words cannot express the shock and horror felt by the community at this sickening turn of events. While we encourage people to help the survivors, we also wanted to take a moment to pay our respects to the three individuals who lost their lives in this senseless act of hatred.
Stephen Romero, 6, from San Jose, California
Stephen was with his mother and grandmother when the shooting started. His mother grabbed him and started running, and was struck by two bullets herself — one in the hand, one in the stomach. It’s believed that one of those bullets ended Stephen’s life, in his mother’s arms. There’s a GoFundMe set up for his family, as well, and also helps with the medical bills for his mother.
Keyla Salazar, 13, from San Jose, California
Keyla was caught in the crossfire of the spray-shooting and died instantly. Her stepfather was also shot, but didn’t sustain any serious injuries. There’s also a GoFundMe for her family to help cover funeral costs. Keyla’s family and friends described her as warm, loving, and caring, and she will be missed in the hearts of many.
Trevor Irby, 25, from Romulus, New York
Here on vacation from New York, Trevor was identified as the oldest victim in the shooting. He was a graduate of Keuka College in New York, and was with another graduate, who was fortunate to walk away with no injuries. His best friends have also set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of his memorial.
We are sad to have to report on any of this, but we believe in the strength of our community. Please be aware, these are only the campaigns we’re aware of, so if you have any additional information on those who sustained injuries, please share it with us in the comments.