San Bernardino, CA – The annual Ukulele Festival put on by the American Ukulele Association (AUA), ended in tragedy on Sunday. A masked gunman opened fire killing 17 festival attendees and wounding 35 others, including a cardboard cut-out of Don Ho. The gunman was stopped when a ukulele wielding man beat the gunman in the head with his instrument. The gunman was taken into custody where he is awaiting arraignment.
The Ukulele community has begun reaching out to those affected by the festival tragedy. The AUA is organizing a nationwide playing of ukuleles at 6 pm eastern time on August 1st. The association is encouraging ukulele fans to play their instruments in solidarity with those affected by the shooting.
The annual festival took place in San Bernardino this year, as the festival was put out of their original home in Santa Monica. The festival had been in Santa Monica for 12 years, but the locals finally had enough saying, “It is just too weird for us.”
Festival attendee Ray Likens, spoke to Gish Gallop about the attack.
“It was terrible, we were all playing a great Anne Murray tune when all of a sudden this guy pulls a gun and shoots the life-sized cutout of Don Ho, took his head clean off,” said Likens. “I still just do not understand it, we took shelter behind my old VW bus, which took some damage. That’s my home man. The Ukulele is about love. I just want to know why? Why!?”
Festival organizer Todd Lovell released this statement on behalf of the AUA.
“We are saddened by the loss of our friends and for those wounded by this cowardly act. We want the world to know that you cannot silence our ukuleles. Our music will live on in our 6 surviving members.”