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Police arrest Gilroy man after online post threatens ‘goal is to kill 500, not three’

Police arrested a man after he made threats online that apparently referenced the deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, authorities said.

Jose Pinon of Gilroy posted Wednesday on Facebook that “my goal is to kill 500, not three,"police said, in a reference believed to be to the shooting at the Northern California food festival that killed three people July 28.

Gilroy Police Capt. Joseph Deras said officials did not seize any weapons from Pinon’s home Thursday and did not believe he was planning an attack.

Pinon, 40, is charged with making criminal threats, which is a felony, and violating a domestic-violence-related restraining order, which is a misdemeanor, Deras said. He was in jail Friday on $30,000 bail.

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It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Jose Pinon of Gilroy
Police say Jose Pinon, 40, was arrested after he allegedly made threats that apparently referenced the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.
(Gilroy Police Department)

Authorities say they don’t know what prompted gunman Santino William Legan to open fire at the festival. Legan was killed during a gunfight with three police officers within a minute.

Pinon’s comments on a Gilroy neighborhood watch page alarmed other members of the online group, some of whom told police they had canceled plans, like attending a vigil to honor the victims, because they were afraid.

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Another man, whom police did not identify, posted on Facebook soon after the shooting that he had participated — prompting a SWAT response to his Gilroy home. Authorities believed he might have been a second shooter.

Some witnesses had reported seeing another person with Legan, but officials said their investigation had not shown that anyone else was involved.

The 22-year-old man was arrested on unrelated warrants, but police did not charge him in connection with his Facebook post, Deras said.

“We don’t think he had any criminal intent,” Deras said. “It was just ignorance.”

The man later asked for police protection because others had found out about his post. Deras said his request was not granted.


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