GILROY, CA — Was California drawn off the national landscape when Monday’s White House ceremony to honor Ohio and Texas police officers who responded to mass shootings failed to include Gilroy law enforcement?
That’s the question U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, pondered Wednesday morning with Patch in considering the actions of three brave Gilroy officers within her district who confronted the shooter at the Garlic Festival on July 28. She did not ask the White House.
The gunman, 19-year-old Santino William Legan, killed two San Jose children and one Santa Cruz man before fatally turning the gun on himself.
The Gilroy officers identified as Eric Cryar, a 23-year-veteran; Hugo Del Moral; a 17-year-veteran; and Robert Basuino, a 13-year veteran are deemed as heroes by many since they took on the gunman armed with an assault rifle within a minute of shots fired about an hour before the festival wrapped up. Sunday’s festival ended the weekend before the other mass shootings that killed 32 between El Paso and Dayton. Those officers and some civilians received the Medal of Valor and Heroic Commendations by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Requests for comment as to whether Gilroy was slighted by the Trump Administration went unanswered by the White House on Wednesday.
The relationship between California and the federal government has been prickly since Trump took office. Tensions have increased, as the gun control debate makes it way into hearing rooms.
Sensitivities aside, Lofgren simply wanted her district’s officers to get due recognition for their courage.
“It was very disappointing. Why not Gilroy? They were so incredibly brave. If they had not stopped him, he would have shot more people. They took him down and saved countless lives,” the congresswoman told Patch.
The legality of high capacity magazines is up for grabs, among other calls for stricter controls on a national level.
The Gilroy gunman legally bought the assault rifle in neighboring Nevada where laws are looser.
“The laws in California do make a difference. This is why we need a nationwide approach,” she said.
Because of the variance in approaches from a state to federal level, Lofgren wonders if Gilroy was “dissed” by the feds.
The California Peace Officers’ Association in Sacramento avoided the topic somewhat since it didn’t hear about the White House ceremony from its union members.
“Whether the omission of Gilroy first responders was a slight to California” is unclear, Deputy Director Shaun Rundle told Patch Wednesday.
“While I know California cops don’t seek special recognition for doing their duty, I’m sure there is likely disappointment at not being included,” Rundle said.
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