How Gilroy Festival Victims Can Get Medical Compensation, Emotional Support and Property Recovery

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A vigil is held in Gilroy on July 29, 2019, for victims of the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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.

Address:
Wheeler Community Center
270 W 6th St. Gilroy, CA 95020
For information or transportation: 408-209-8356

Hours:
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."

Property Recovery Information

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.

Related Coverage

Additional Compensation Fund

The Gilroy Foundation, a community philanthropy, this week created a fund to help victims of the shooting. Within 24 hours, the fund had already raised close to $50,000, said Donna Pray, the foundation’s executive director.

“We’ve never done disasters," she said. “This is our first time. It’s new, uncharted territory for us."

Pray said her group is currently determining how best to dole out the funds, but expects that they will be used primarily for victims’ uncovered expenses, such as medical insurance, co-pays and mortuary fees. After the application process is formalized, applicants will be asked to explain what they need help paying for. The foundation is also holding local fundraisers for victims throughout this week.

For more information, contact the Gilroy Foundation: 408-842-3727

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

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