California Sun

Good morning. It's Monday, July 29.

Mass shooting at Gilroy festival leaves three dead.
Locals near Kern County oil spill are unperturbed.
And a Sierra lake that looks like a minimalist painting.



People waited at a reunification center after the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday.

Josie Lepe/A.P.

A gunman killed three people and wounded at least 15 others at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday, authorities said. Here's what else has been reported:

The gunman was also killed. The police said they engaged him right after shots rang out around 5:30 p.m. He wasn't identified.
Officials said the suspect appeared to have smuggled his weapon into the festival by cutting through a fence.
A witness said he saw a man fire into a food area with what looked like an assault rifle. He heard someone shout: "Why are you doing this?" and the reply: "because I'm really angry."
There were reports of a second gunman, and the police conducted a manhunt into the night.
Videos posted online included the moment gunfire erupted and the chaos that followed.

Steven Romero

Alberto Romero, via NBC News

Among the dead in Gilroy was a 6-year-old boy named Steven Romero, family members told a news station. "I lost my son," his father said. "And there's nothing I really can do besides try to be with him so I could put him in his resting spot, wherever that is. I don't know what to say. My son had his whole life to live, and he was only 6." NBC News | Washington Post


The Manzanar War Relocation Center in the Owens Valley in July 1942.

Dorothea Lange

Politicians have been clashing over some Democrats' comparison of migrant detention facilities with Nazi concentration camps. It's a familiar debate in California, where camps used to incarcerate Japanese Americans during WWII have commonly been called concentration camps, even appearing on an official plaque at Manzanar.

"I know what concentration camps are," actor George Takei said in a tweet. "I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again." Others disagree. "To me, it offends memory," a rabbi in Los Angeles said. "You're demeaning history." L.A. Times


It's galling enough that the Equifax C.E.O. who oversaw an egregious data hack is getting about $20 million in stock bonuses, wrote business columnist David Lazarus. Now the company is counting on affected customers failing to collect the $125 they are entitled to as part of a settlement with California and other states. "You should prove them wrong," Lazarus wrote. L.A. Times | WIRED


Mono Lake, looking every bit like a minimalist painting.

Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierra is among the country's oldest lakes, believed to have formed from melting glaciers roughly a million years ago. It was carrying along just fine until Los Angeles got involved in 1941, when the city began diverting water from the Mono Basin. By 1982 the lake had fallen by 45 vertical feet, throwing its ecosystem into collapse. In 1994, state regulators ordered the lake to be protected, sparing it the fate of the drained Owens Lake to the south. Measured this month, Mono Lake was doing better — 35 feet down from the 1941 level — yet far from fully recovered. Atlas Obscura |


Northern California


Finnegan Lee Elder, left, and Gabriel Christian Natale Hjorth were jailed in Rome.

Italian Carabinieri

Two 2018 graduates of Tamalpais High School were arrested in Rome in connection with the stabbing death of an Italian police officer. Investigators said the teenagers had confessed to roles in the killing in what was described as the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. The Italian media published a photo showing one of the suspects bound and blindfolded, sparking an internal investigation into their treatment. S.F. Chronicle | Reuters


A Sikh priest said he was attacked by someone who broke into his home on the grounds of a temple near Modesto. The masked intruder broke a window, shouted obscenities, punched the priest in the neck, and told him to go back to his own country, he said. A Modesto City Council member said the temple had faced harassment for years, including threatening phone calls and passing motorists shouting slurs. Modesto Bee | A.P.


School officials voted to cover “The Life of Washington,” a mural from 1935-36.

Tammy Aramian/Washington High School Alumni Association

A N.Y. Times art critic compared calls to destroy controversial murals at a San Francisco high school to the Taliban's demolition of ancient Buddhas in Afghanistan. "Those favoring destruction think that they know what the art is about, and that they have the right to decide for everyone, now and in the future, what will be accessible, what will be known," she wrote. N.Y. Times


U.C. Berkeley was kicked off of the U.S. News and World Report's influential best college rankings over what what it called "greatly overstated" alumni donation numbers. "U.S. News takes misreporting very seriously," the publication said. Berkeleyside |


Lenny Maughan/Strava

Lenny Maughan has made an art form out of his elaborate running routes through San Francisco. He records his runs with the Strava app, which uses GPS to trace his completed route in red. So far Maughan has made 53 works, including the starship Enterprise, the Batman symbol, and artist Frida Kahlo, above, which required a 28.9-mile run. The Guardian


Southern California


Officer Juan Jose Diaz had been on the LAPD force for about two years.

Los Angeles Police Department

A Los Angeles police officer was fatally shot while out with friends at a taco stand in L.A.'s Lincoln Heights neighborhood. Police sources told the L.A. Times that Juan Jose Diaz, 24, had called out to a person to stop tagging a wall. Later, a group of men approached. As Diaz and his group tried to flee, one of the men opened fire, police said. L.A. Times | CBSLA


Immigration agents have made at least two arrests inside Kern County courthouses in recent weeks. Critics of such arrests say they undermine the justice system by discouraging domestic abuse victims and others from appearing in court for fear of arrest. I.C.E. has defended the practice as necessary when local law enforcement fails to cooperate with the agency on immigration arrests. Bakersfield Californian


Kern County is oil country.

David McNew/Getty Images

The largest California oil spill in nearly three decades is unfolding near the dusty little town of McKittrick at the western edge of Kern County. But locals aren't too worried about it. "Even if the kids were here, it's not something that we would be concerned about," a school leader said. "Out here, you don't really think a lot about it." KQED | L.A. Times


San Luis Obispo has a solution to all of the debate over monuments with troubled legacies: no more monuments to individuals, living or dead. "Why would we step into lifting up individual people who are —undoubtedly, as we all are — complex, flawed," the city's mayor said. Moreover, she said: "Anyone worthy of a monument would not want one." KCBX


California archive


A 19th century painting of the Brooklyn, which embarked on perhaps the longest religious sea pilgrimage in recorded history.

Duncan McFarlane

For a brief period before the Gold Rush, San Francisco was largely a Mormon town.

It was on this week in 1846 that the ship Brooklyn landed at San Francisco, then Yerba Buena. It carried 238 weary Mormons who had completed an epic journey from New York, five times farther than that of the Plymouth Pilgrims, in search of freedom from religious persecution.

Samuel Brannan, upper right, and other early San Francisco pioneers in an undated image.

Bancroft Library/U.C. Berkeley

They doubled the population of San Francisco, and took a central role in many of California's early historical developments. Within a year, they built 100 permanent structures in San Francisco, including the first bank, library, and English-speaking school. The group's leader, Sam Brannan, started the city's first newspaper, the California Star, and became its first millionaire. Other Mormons founded towns, pioneered farming, and became among the first gold miners.

For a time, San Francisco seemed like it could become the headquarters of the Mormon church. In 1847, Brannan traveled to meet the church's president, Brigham Young, who was himself journeying west via land, to plead with him to continue on to the paradise he had found in California. Young refused, preferring the isolation of Utah's Salt Lake Valley.

Mormon population by county, according to 2000 Census figures.

Still, California became firmly established within the so-called Mormon Corridor, adding another major Mormon foothold in the San Bernardino Valley that rivaled Los Angeles in size. Over the generations, the church's membership in California has grown steadily. Today, more Mormons live in California than any state but Utah. BYU |


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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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