Golden Gate woman was blocks away from California festival shooting

Two days may have been the difference between life and death for a Southwest Florida woman.

Golden Gate, Florida woman Kaydee Tuff was at the Gilroy Garlic festival in California Friday prior to the Sunday shooting.

Tuff said she was thankful she avoided the shooting. But she said the small town and tight-knit community is ready to bounce back.

“There were many airplanes and helicopters, and of course we heard the sirens,” Tuff said.

Investigators said a 19-year-old gunman randomly targeted people at the festival, killing three and injuring 12.

“I woke up this morning thinking my family is all together,” Tuff said. “And that’s not the case for too many people this morning.”

Tuff went to the festival with her young nephew and grandmother. Then, two days later she and her family were soaking in all the information about what was happening only a 10-minute walk away from them.

“It was almost like when there’s a hurricane,” Tuff said. “We all gather together and stay inside and watch the TV, and you just have an impending thing. This one was a lot more uncertainty. And it just felt like that togetherness.”

Tuff said her sister lives on the levee where investigators say the gunman crossed before breaking through a fence into the festival.

“We stayed inside,” Tuff said. “We did lock the doors.”

Immediately, Tuff began texting her husband who was thousands of miles away at their Golden Gate home in Collier County.

“I didn’t know what that meant, so I did look it up, and I looked right away on my phone garlic festival, and it didn’t come up with anything,” Russell Tuff said. “And then I did garlic festival shooting, and finally it came up.”

Credit: Kaydee Tuff via WINK News.

And as of this afternoon, barricades and sheriff’s vehicles still block the creek near her family’s home.

“It does put your life and your families lives into perspective,” Tuff said. “And it’s an unfortunate reality of this world that we have to live this way now.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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