Like many other Americans, I woke up on Monday to the news of yet another mass shooting. This time, a shooter opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, killing three people and injuring a dozen more. Among those killed in the Gilroy mass shooting was 6-year-old Stephen Luciano Romero, who attended the festival with his mother and grandmother, according to CBS News. Now Stephen's family is speaking out about his senseless death and the beautiful life he led.
Romero was one of three people killed in Gilroy during Sunday's attack, as CBS News reported. The other two victims were identified as 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and Trevor Irby, who police say was in his 20s, according to tK. Additionally, 12 other people at the garlic festival were wounded. The gunman was shot and killed by Gilroy police officers, according to The Los Angeles Times, and authorities are reportedly still investigating if a "potential second suspect" was involved in the attack.
The Gilroy Police Department did not immediately respond to Romper’s request for comment regarding the potential second suspect.
In the wake of these senseless killings, Stephen's grandmother spoke out about his death, revealing how she found out about the news. Maribel Romero told ABC7 News that she was at home when she received a call about the attack, learning that Stephen, his mother, and his other grandmother had all been shot. Maribel immediately went to multiple hospitals looking for her grandson, only to learn of his death when she finally arrived at the right one. The bereaved grandmother remembered her grandson as "always kind, happy and, you know, playful."
Maribel also addressed the senselessness of Stephen's death, telling ABC7 News: "It 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."
Stephen's father, Alberto Romero, also gave an interview after the shooting. He was at home in San Jose, California when his wife, Barbara Aquirre, called to tell him she had been shot as well as their son, according to The Orange County Register. “I couldn’t believe what was happening — that what she was saying was a lie, that maybe I was dreaming,” Alberto told The Mercury News. “She said that they shot my son and they took him from her, the officers."
Upon arriving at St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy, Alberto was told that Stephen was in critical condition and doctors were working to save his life. Five minutes later, Alberto was informed that his 6-year-old son, who had recently graduated from kindergarten, had died.
“My son had his whole life to live and he was only 6,” he told NBC News. “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.”
There are no words to adequately describe the Romero family's loss. No child deserves to lose their life so senselessly, and his death is another reminder why common sense gun laws in America are desperately needed.