The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the California food festival shooting that left three dead, including two children.
Officials on Tuesday revealed they had discovered gunman Santino William Legan’s “target list” which included religious and federal buildings.
Agent John Bennett said Legan, 19, was “exploring violent ideologies” but the FBI has not yet confirmed a motive.
Legan died from a self-inflicted wound shortly after the attack on 28 July.
The Gilroy incident was one of three mass shootings in the US in recent weeks. Shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, took place less than 24 hours apart over the weekend.
The El Paso shooting, which left 22 dead, is also being investigated as a domestic terrorism case. The FBI has said the gunman in Dayton, where nine people were killed, also followed a “violent ideology”.
FBI opens ‘full domestic terrorism investigation’
“We have seen a fractured ideology,” Agent Bennett said of the California attack during a news conference on Tuesday. “The shooter appeared to have an interest in varying competing violent ideologies.”
“Due to the discovery of the target list as well as other information we have encountered in this investigation, the FBI has opened a full domestic terrorism investigation into this mass shooting.”
Investigators found a list of groups from Legan’s digital media “that may have been potential targets of violence”, Mr Bennett said.
Officials are in the process of notifying the organisations, but will not confirm any names.
“These organisations from across the country include religious institutions, federal buildings, courthouses, political organisations from both major political parties and the Gilroy garlic festival.”
Legan opened fire on festival-goers using an “AK-47-type” assault rifle he had purchased legally.
Authorities have identified the three victims killed in the attack as six-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Allison Salazar and Trevor Deon Irby, 25. Sixteen others were also wounded.
Three police officers engaged the suspect immediately and were able to injure him. Legan then died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a coroner’s report.
Legan’s family issued a statement to US media on Tuesday apologising to the families of the victims and saying they were “deeply shocked and horrified by the actions of our son”.
“We have never and would never condone the hateful thoughts and ideologies that led to this event, and it is impossible to reconcile this with the son we thought we knew.
“Our son is gone, and we will forever have unanswered questions as to how or why any of this has happened.”
What do we know about the other shootings?
- Ohio’s Republican governor Mike DeWine on Tuesday announced a slew of proposals to combat mass shootings and tackle mental health issues, including a modified “red flag” law that would allow judges to remove firearms from individuals deemed to be a danger to themselves or the public
- Dayton’s Democratic mayor Nan Whaley said she will tell President Donald Trump “how unhelpful he’s been” during the president’s upcoming visit to the site of the shooting
- In El Paso, the families of the victims have begun to speak out, mourning the loss of their loved ones. One father who lost his youngest son told the BBC he has forgiven the gunman “because he was not in his senses”