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Boy, 6, among three killed as gunman opens fire at US food festival

A six-year-old boy was among three people killed after a gunman opened fire at a food festival in California.

Steven Romero had been visiting the garlic festival in the city of Gilroy with his mother and grandmother when he was shot and killed, according to NBC Bay Area.

Another 15 people were injured in the attack at 5.41pm local time (1.41am UK time) after the gunman began "shooting in every direction".

Image:People run as shots were fired. Pic: @wavyia

He killed three people before being shot dead by police in attendance within a minute.

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Steven's father, Alberto, said he was at home when he got the call that his son had been killed.

"My son had his whole life to live and he was only six," he told NBC Bay Area.

When asked what his thoughts were following the tragedy, he said: "Hopefully they get the shooters and basically that's it right now.

"I lost my son and that's the only thing I really can do besides trying to be with him until I could put him in his resting spot, wherever that is."

Image:Steven Romero 'had his whole life to live'. Pic: NBC Bay Area

Chief of Police Scot Smithee said the gunman, and a suspected second gunman or supporter, came into the festival via a creek which borders a parking area.

He said it was thought they used "some sort of a tool to cut through the fence".

Mr Smithee confirmed it was still an active scene.

"There were reports of a shooting on the north side of the garlic festival area," he said. "Officers were in that area and engaged that suspect in less than a minute. The suspect was shot and killed."

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Witness Julissa Contreras told reporters she saw the gunman firing a rifle that was "able to shoot three to four shots a second".

"It was just rapid firing," she said.

"I could see him shooting in just every direction. He wasn't aiming at anyone specifically. It was just left to right, right to left. He definitely was prepared for what he was doing."

Image:Security forces were deployed to the festival, at which 4,000 people work or volunteer

Image:Police at the site of the shooting

A number of videos posted to social media showed people running away from the event. Gunshots could be heard in the background of some of the clips.

In one of the videos a woman can be heard asking: "Who would shoot up a garlic festival?"

Julissa Contreras said she was about 20ft from the shooter when he opened fire.

In a video posted on social media, she said the alleged shooter was a white man wearing a "utility outfit, like he looked like he was private security".

The suspect shot at police officers with what appeared to be a "semi-automatic rifle".

A 13-year-old girl told San Jose Mercury News she had initially thought the noise had been fireworks, but saw a man that had a bandana tied around his leg wound.

The singer of a band who had been performing at the festival said he saw a man wearing a green shirt and a handkerchief around his neck firing into the food area with what appeared to be an assault rifle.

People run as shots were fired. Pic: @wavyia

Jack van Breen and his bandmates dived under the stage before hearing someone shout: "Why are you doing this?"

He said the reply came "Because I'm really angry".

President Donald Trump tweeted: "Law Enforcement is at the scene of shootings in Gilroy, California.

Reports are that shooter has not yet been apprehended. Be careful and safe!"

The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, tweeted: "This is nothing short of horrific. Tonight, CA stands with the Gilroy community. My office is monitoring the situation closely. Grateful for the law enforcement's efforts and their continued work as this situation develops."

One of the largest food festivals in the US, the Gilroy Garlic Festival is an annual three-day event south of San Jose at the outdoor Christmas Hill Park.

The event's website says weapons of any kind are prohibited and that 4,000 people work and volunteer at the festival.

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Read more from SKY News

My view: This is so sad, the little boy was at the right place at the right time, but his country failed him and others who were brutally murdered in the Gilroy shootings, by not doing enough to completely ban these weapons that are of no use instead they help to destroy lives. It is time to ban all guns. I don't understand why any country would allow civilians to buy and sell guns, they should be for military use not for daily killings of people and innocent children. Americans own nearly half of all the civilian-owned guns in the world, and they are allowed to buy semi-automatic weapons, handguns, rifles, and shotguns, it's unbelievable and it's not good.

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