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Americas

Police shoot and kill gunman in California festival attack

media Emergency teams on the spot after the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, 28 July 2019. REUTERS/Chris Smead

At least three people were killed and at least 15 others injured in a shooting at a food festival in California on Sunday.

Police officers shot dead the attacker at the three-day Gilroy Garlic Festival almost as soon as he started firing. According to Scot Smithee, Gilroy city's police chief, it took them less than a minute to fell the rifle-wielding man.

Gilroy police said that they were searching for a possible second suspect at and around the Festival site, 48 kilometers southeast of San Jose in California.

The gunman was described by a witness as a white man in his 30s armed with a rifle who opened fire indiscriminately.

Police chief Scott Smithee said the suspect may have managed to escape metal detectors and bag searches at the Festival entrance, by breaking through fencing around the site.

People were injured in the rush to get away from the scene as they started hearing the gunshots.

Music bands entertain the almost 100,000 people who are reported to attend the popular, family-oriented event to take part in or watch cooking competitions.

Governing gun-use and abuse

California's governor Gavin Newsom said the incident was "horrific."

US President Donald Trump earlier tweeted that law enforcement officers were at "the scene of shootings" in Gilroy, urging members of the public to "Be careful and safe!"

Similar gun rampages and their tragic consequences have raised awareness about accessibility of firearms in the US today.

In 2018, 17 people were killed at a high school in Parkland in the state of Florida, which gave fresh impetus to call for tighter gun laws.

Firearm control is a polemic issue in the US, pitching those who support the possession of guns, and those who consider regulations are too lax and lead to incidents like the latest one on Sunday in Gilroy.

Efforts to address gun control in the US legislature have been largely deadlocked at the federal level. However, earlier this year the members of the House of Representatives passed federal legislation, HR8 that requires federal background checks for all firearms sales year. The measure has been described as largely symbolic given the continued predominance of the Republican party in government in the Senate.

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