On the day of the horrific shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the 19-year-old gunman made a post on Instagram about a white supremacy manifesto.
Just one hour before he killed three people and injured at least 12 others, Santino William Legan encouraged people to read “Might Is Right or the Survival of the Fittest,” a 19th-century book that has been referenced in white nationalist message boards.
“Read Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard,” Legan posted on his Instagram page, according to NBC News.
In the post, Legan also complained of towns being “overcrowd[ed]” with “hoards of mestizos and Silicon Valley white tw—s.”
The book reference by Legan has been shared on white nationalist and fascist forums like 4chan’s /pol/ board, as well as the National Vanguard, Stormfront and The Daily Stormer.
While the book was at one time thought to be referencing social Darwinism, it was actually discovered to have anti-Semitic, sexist and white supremacist ideology. The book glorifies “Aryan” men, condemns interracial marriage, and defends eugenics.
“Books play a big role in the white supremacist movement,” Peter Simi, a professor of sociology at Chapman University in Southern California, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Posting (about a book) is a clear shout to say the reason I’m doing this violence is not just personal but to say I’m acting on behalf of a larger movement.”
During the time of the shooting, Jack van Breen, a singer in the rock band TinMan, was beginning an encore set and heard a scary exchange between Legan and a festival attendee just before the horrific scene broke out around 6 p.m. local time.
Van Breen told the Associated Press someone in the audience shouted: “Why are you doing this?” and Legan replied, “Because I’m really angry.”
Police said Legan legally purchased his assault-style rifle in Nevada this month.
While authorities have not yet provided a motive in the shooting, they did reveal a SWAT team searched Legan’s house after the shooting.
Officers were seen walking out with several paper evidence bags and what appeared to be a camouflage rifle bag.
(Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)