Things That Matter

An Alleged White Supremacist Took The Life Of 6-Year-Old Steven Romero At California’s Garlic Festival And Our Hearts Ache

Today, America is waking up to the news that another child has been killed by senseless gun violence. His name was Steven Romero. Last month, his 9 year-old sister and parents took him to Legoland to celebrate his sixth birthday. On Sunday, he was shot and killed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival just outside San Jose, California. A 13-year-old girl and man in his 20s were killed in the shooting and fifteen more were injured.

Romero’s killer explicitly posted his frustration with seeing “hordes of mestizos” and a reference to a white supremacist text just before the attack.

Steven was at the festival with his mother and grandmother, who were also both shot.

@shaunking / Twitter

He is survived by his grandmother, who was allegedly shot in the leg, and his mother, who was shot in the hand and in the stomach. 

Steven’s father, Alberto Romero, was at home with his daughter when his wife called from the hospital.

@nbc6 / Twitter

“I couldn’t believe what was happening, that what she was saying was a lie, maybe I was dreaming,” he told CNN of the phone call. By the time he got to the hospital, doctors told him that Steven was in critical condition. “Five minutes later, they told me he was dead,” Romero told CNN.

“My son had his whole life to live and he was only 6. That’s all I can say,” Romero told NBC.

@abc7newsbayarea / Twitter

“I lost my son. There’s nothing I really can do besides try to be with him until I can put him in his resting spot, wherever that is,” he told NBC. Alberto Romero’s mother, Steven’s paternal abuela, Maribel Romero, went from hospital to hospital searching for him, unable to reach her son. By the time she found the hospital where her grandson was, he was dead.

Abuela Maribel is adamant: “I want justice for my grandson.”

@abc7newsbayarea / Twitter

The above photo may be the last image of young Steven Romero’s life, taken at the garlic festival. Steven’s injured mother and grandmother have not spoken out yet. Alberto’s mother, Maribel, told CNN, “This is really hard, there’s no words to describe (it). I don’t think this is fair.”

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee stated that one shooter was killed and another may be on the loose.

@abc7 / Twitter

The event, which typically draws in 100,000 festival-goers each year, had tight security. There were metal detectors in the entryway and heavy police presence. Officers were able to find the suspect within one minute of his initial firing. In that one minute, the suspect killed three and injured fifteen people.

America’s response is pure heartache.

@Gueromexican831 / Twitter

The founder of non-profit Moms Demand Action, Shannon Watts, tweeted a photo of Steven with a plea for action: “Stephen Romero wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was in the right place in a nation with the wrong gun laws. Act in his honor and the others killed and injured in the #gilroyshooting. We have the power to fix this. Use your voices and votes. Text ACT to 644-33.”

Steven was a Latino boy. His killer was a white supremacist.

@CeeLeeMusic / Twitter

The suspect, named Santino William Legan, 19, allegedly referenced a white supremacist text just before the attack. In an Instagram post bearing his name, created four days before the attack, he posted a sign of Smokey Bear saying “Fire Danger High Today.” The caption said, “Read Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white tw**s?”

In a press conference, President Trump read off a teleprompter to “ask that God will comfort [the families] with his overflowing mercy and grace.”

@TheWhiteHouse / Twitter

In response, constituents like @DogginTrump are tweeting bluntly, “If he wants to help, he can get Mitch McConnell to vote on those 2 gun bills sitting on his desk from the House & then sign them. Otherwise, he can STFU & continue to do nothing as usual.”

Trump made no reference to the killers white supremacist ideologies and offered none of his typical impassioned off-the-cuff speech. 

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