10-year-old girl's quick action saved 3-year-old during Gilroy Garlic Festival mass shooting

A 10-year-old girl is being hailed a hero for her quick thinking that may have saved a toddler from the gunman who opened fire at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in California on Sunday.

Troy Towner told the Associated Press his sister, Wendy Towner, and her husband, Francisco, were working at a booth for Wendy's business "The Honey Ladies" when they witnessed a man, later identified as 19-year-old Santino Legan, enter the fairgrounds carrying a gun. 

Wendy allegedly called out to the gunman, "No, you can't do that!" before she was shot in the leg. Her husband was also shot three times while the pair's 3-year-old son stood helplessly by.

That's when a 10-year-old girl, identified as the niece of Candice Marquez, who works with Wendy Towner, spotted the toddler and quickly dragged him under a nearby table. 

The gunman then allegedly approached Wendy and her husband and asked, "Are you alright?" The couple remained motionless until he "turned and continued on to the next group of people," according to the victim's brother.

"She was brave," Marquez said of her niece's heroism.

Towner said his sister underwent surgery and will suffer long-term nerve and muscle damage in her leg, while her husband sustained more severe damage to his femoral artery and will require more surgeries. 

A GoFundMe to cover the family's medical bills has raised nearly $68,000 of its $100,000 goal. 

The Towners were two of 15 people shot at the festival, three of whom died, including 6-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and 25-year-old Trevor Irby.

Keyla reportedly died in an act of bravery after she stayed behind to assist a relative who used a cane while others began to flee the gunfire.

"I have no words to describe this pain I'm feeling," the girl's aunt, Katiuska Vargas, wrote on Facebook Monday. "You were too young to be taken from us. We are all devastated and broken."

Photos from the scene: 

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Mass shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival
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Mass shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival
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A young couple embrace at a parking lot after a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2019. Several people were hospitalized Sunday after the shooting at the annual food festival in Northern California, a hospital spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Thomas Mendoza)
Police work a scene after a deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Police stay focused on a target after a deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Gilroy Garlic festival volunteer Denise Buessing, left, embraces fellow volunteer Marsha Struzik at a reunification center in a parking lot at Gavilan College following a deadly shooting at the annual food festival in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Festival attendees are being transported on a bus, after a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, at the reunification center at the Gavilan College in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Ana Lilia Cano, left, with daughter Paulina Perez, and Gildardo Leyva, right, wait for relatives at a reunification center at Gavilan College following a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Ana Lilia Cano, left, with daughter Paulina Perez, and Gildardo Leyva, right, wait for relatives at a reunification center at Gavilan College following a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Police officers dressed in SWAT gear stand guard at the first aid center at Gilroy High School following a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., on Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/David Royal)
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee speaks at a press conference at Gavilan College following a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Police officers escort people from Christmas Hill Park following a deadly shooting during the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif., on Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Police officers escort people from Christmas Hill Park following a deadly shooting during the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif., on Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Police officers escort people from Christmas Hill Park following a deadly shooting during the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif., on Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
CALIFORNIA, USA - JULY 28 : Gilroy residents gather at the Gilroy High School after mass shooting at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California on July 28, 2019. At least three people were killed on Sunday in an ongoing shooting at a festival in northern California, according to a local official. (Photo by Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Stephen Romero, 6, was tragically killed during Sunday's mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. 
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