Stephen Romero, 6, was tragically killed on Sunday while attending the Gilroy Garlic Festival with his mother and grandmother, according to KRON. Stephen, as well as his mother and grandmother, were playing in the bounce house when a gunman randomly starting firing, hitting all three family members. Romero’s father, Alberto Romero, shared the news with the San Jose Mercury News.
Romero recently graduated kindergarten and was excited about going into first grade, according to his family.
During the shocking ordeal, Alberto received a call from his panicked wife. He told People, “I couldn’t believe what was happening, that what she was saying was a lie, that maybe I was dreaming.”
After the call, he rushed to St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy. When he arrived, the nurses told him his son was in critical condition. Tragically, Stephen passed away just a few minutes later.
Alberto shared that his son was “joyful, always wanted to play, always positive.” He told NBC Bay Area, “my son had his whole life to live and he was only six. That’s all I can say.”
Stephen’s paternal grandmother was interviewed by ABC7 News, saying the shooter “has to be someone really sick. Because shooting a kid… it’s a family event. I just hope there is justice and they catch the last person or the other person and that there’s justice. I want justice for my grandson.”
The suspect, who was killed by the police minutes after he began shooting, randomly shot at the crowd with an AK-47 type rifle at around 5:40 p.m. local time on Sunday. In addition to Stephen, he is responsible for killing a 13-year-old girl and a man in his 20s, as well as injuring 15 people.
Gilroy police chief Scot Smithee spoke emotionally at a press conference on Monday, saying, the incident could have been “so much worse, so fast.” Thanks to the work of the police officers on site, they were able to move quickly to end the shooting.
“Any time a life is lost, it’s a tragedy, but when it’s young people, it’s even worse,” Smithee said.
This is a developing story. Please stay tuned for updates.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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