UPDATED Aug. 6, 11:50 a.m.
Local officials are encouraging anyone who witnessed the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28 to drop by a temporary resource center in town to receive help — ranging from counseling referrals and filing victims' compensation claims to finding information about recovering property left at the scene.
The Victim Services Unit of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the county’s Behavioral Health Services, the American Red Cross and several agencies from neighboring counties, is operating a Family Assistance Center (FAC) in Gilroy to assist anyone affected by the shootings at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. As of Tuesday, Aug. 6, the FAC is now located at Wheeler Community Center in Gilroy (video tour) and will remain open through Friday, Aug. 9 (it was previously located at Rucker Elementary School). This is also where people should go to retrieve any property or vehicles that were left at the festival.
"All items left on any part of the festival grounds as people fled the scene will be released from this location," according to a Tuesday press release from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.
"If any person was present or suffered any trauma, they should come to the family services center," said Josue Fuentes, deputy district attorney for Santa Clara County. He estimates that about 250 people have gone to the center for help since it opened on Monday.
Center services include:
- Grief counseling and emotional support (available in English and Spanish).
- Help filing claims through the California Victim Compensation Board, a state agency that helps cover the cost of medical bills and other related expenses for victims of violent crime
- Referrals to agencies and providers for medical services, counseling and other resources
- Access to FBI staff for help retrieving any valuable belongings that were abandoned at the crime scene, including anything from phones and purses to vendor equipment and vehicles (more on that below)
- Free on-site child care
- Donated food from Starbucks and Denny's
If transportation is needed, call the center to arrange a ride.
Wheeler Community Center
270 W 6th St. Gilroy, CA 95020
For information or transportation: 408-209-8356
11 a.m. to 7 p.m (Tuesday, Aug. 6 through Friday, Aug. 9)
Who's Considered a Victim?
"Some people don't realize that they may be affected by the trauma that they saw or were around,” said Adam Flores, also a deputy DA for Santa Clara County. “So that's why we want them to come here."
Victims include anyone who experienced the shooting, he said, not just those who were physically injured or lost a family member. His office has also emphasized that it does not care about anyone's immigration status, and will not ask any questions related to that.
“The people in Gilroy and this community are strong and resilient. But many of them could use some help,” Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen told reporters on Tuesday. "And that might be information. That might be a cooler or a jacket that they left behind during the chaos of this shooting. It could be helping filling out forms for different kinds of assistance. And that’s why we’re here."
Any personal or vendor property that was left at the festival — on either the Park Side or Ranch Side — can now be reclaimed (as of Tuesday, Aug. 6) at the Wheeler Community Center, according to the Santa Clara DA. That includes vehicles.