Half Moon Bay, California (KGO) — Officials said Tuesday morning that the Mass shooting at two mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay In which seven people died and one was injured, it was possible workplace violence.
The San Mateo County Sheriff, along with the District Attorney, held a news conference where they said it was still unclear what specifically led to the shooting.
They are still working to identify the victims, but say seven are male and one female and all are of Asian and Hispanic descent.
The coroner is notifying the family, which has been difficult because some of the victims are migrants.
Chunli Zhao, 67, of Half Moon Bay, was arrested in connection with these incidents and taken into custody on Monday.
Zhao worked at a mushroom farm and investigators believe this was workplace violence. However, it is still unclear what relationship Zhao had with the victims beyond being co-workers.
San Mateo Co-Sheriff Christina Corpus says he was using a semi-automatic gun that was legally purchased and owned.
Zhao is scheduled to appear in court for the first time tomorrow, but the charges have not been formally announced.
The police did not know about him before he was shot.
The district attorney says this is the largest number of victims of a mass shooting in San Mateo County.
Shots were reported at Mountain Mushroom Farm on San Mateo Road near Highway 1 and Concord Farm off of Cabrillo Highway S. First responders received a call about an active shooter at approximately 2:20 p.m.
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Officers responded to the 12700 block of San Mateo Road at Mountain Mushroom Farms, close to Rice Trucking-Soil Farms across the highway. 1. Deputies found four victims dead of gunshot wounds. A fifth victim, who also suffered from a gunshot wound, was taken to Stanford Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
Then shortly after at Concord Farm on the 2100 block of Cabrillo Highway South – less than 3 miles from Mountain Mushroom Farm – three additional victims were found, also dead of gunshot wounds.
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The suspect has been taken into custody, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
Chunli Zhao, 67, of Half Moon Bay, has been arrested in connection with these incidents.
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The Sheriff’s Office says a weapon was found in Zhao’s vehicle. He is believed to have acted alone and poses no further threat to the community, he said.
“This is a devastating tragedy for this community and the many families who suffered from this unspeakable act of violence,” said San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus.
A source told ABC7 News the suspect worked at a mushroom farm and the victims were co-workers.
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By evening, families of the victims arrived at the scene, attempting to piece together what answers they could.
“…not worried about anything else, just hoping for him to come out, because I really don’t want to…” Carlos Martinez-Maya said.
Carlos Martinez-Maya spoke with us about 5 p.m. Monday about his uncle, who was working a mushroom farm along the Cabrillo Highway.
Then at 7 p.m., they told us that farm workers confirmed to the family that their uncle was one of those who were shot dead at the scene.
Martínez-Maya identifies her uncle as a man named Marciano Martínez-Jimenez, who was known at work as “Martin”. Naturally, the family has asked for some time until they process everything.
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Locals tell us that Mountain Mushroom Farm is known for growing marijuana.
Sadly, officials say the shootings affected children as well.
“This is a terrible event that we never imagined would happen in San Mateo County,” said David Paine, chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Ray Mueller said, “Farm workers were affected tonight. There were children at the time of the incident as well. This is truly a heartbreaking tragedy in our community.”
How many children saw it and what they saw:
“It’s a big rural place so people are working, it’s spread out, there are people who live in that place as well. So it was afternoon, the kids were out of school and to see the kids, it is inexplicable,” said Sheriff Christina Corpus.
Officials give update on Half Moon Bay shooting that left 7 dead, 1 injured
Kate Shea and Lizette Diaz are Half Moon Bay residents and are both volunteering in the city to help those affected by January’s massive floods. heavy rain,
Then there was Monday’s mass shooting in his city.
“I went into my boss’s office at 4 p.m. and I said, ‘Four people have died in my town, I have to go,'” Shea says. “The life of farm laborers on the coast is just as hard, and it’s awful.”
Diaz and Shea are both helping families at the community shelter set up at Portuguese Hall in Half Moon Bay.
Many ranchers and their families have been displaced because the farms they work in are now crime scene. Some were already living in hotels as their homes were damaged in the storm.
Diaz says, “It’s very sad, sad.” “It infuriates me because I have four boys, and I can’t imagine what those kids go through today.”
Volunteers help families displaced by HMB shootings
Alejandro Lopez knew one of the victims – a man he called brother, a friend he had known for 30 years. Lopez brought her family to the shelter home to meet the victim’s family.
John Williams and his wife take off the blankets. He says the community has still not recovered from the aftermath of the rains and floods. “What next, you know? Everything is going to be thrown at us,” he says.
Williams says, however, that he feels more secure knowing that the suspect has been arrested.
“Absolutely shocking that you hear about it all the time on the news. But when you hear about it, when it comes home to you, like in a small town, it really hits home.” . It’s reprehensible,” says Williams.
Sarah Prentice recounts, “We saw all the sirens going one way and then all the sirens going the other way. Something’s going on, but we don’t know where it is. And it was terrifying.”
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She is another local resident who came to the shelter to help the families. He is also happy that the suspect has been arrested. She wants answers now.
“The one thing I’m glad is (the suspect) is alive, so hopefully we’ll get some answers,” Prentice says. “I don’t know how open this person is to talking and explaining ‘why’.” I’m assuming there’s some vendetta.”
Volunteers say that many of these families may stay here for the next few days.
local group Oh Helping with charity.
The FBI of San Francisco is assisting the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office by providing investigative and forensic resources. He says the sheriff’s office is the lead investigative agency at this time.
ABC7 was told the Holy Family Children’s Center closed around 3:20 p.m.
A family reunion center has been set up at IDES Hall at 735 Main Street.
Aaron Tung, principal of Concord Farms, released the following statement:
With the little information available to us at this time, our comments are limited. Of course, we thank the flow of ideas and support from the community. We thank law enforcement for their prompt response and action. Concord Farms has been a family owned and operated mushroom farm in this location for 37 years. With no prior information about this gunman or his motives, we are shaken and very anxious to receive more information from the authorities and their investigation. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the Chinese American community from Half Moon Bay to Monterey Park.
Deborah Penrose, the mayor of Half Moon Bay, also released a statement, saying:
“My colleagues on the Half Moon Bay City Council and I are horrified and saddened by this horrific incident that has completely shaken our community. Our deepest sympathies are with the families and individuals devastated by this horrific act We share with them. pain and know that members of our community also carry the victims and their families in their hearts. Now more than ever it is important for the community to come together and be there for each other “
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo released the following statement after the shootings in her congressional district of Half Moon Bay:
“I continue to monitor the unspeakable tragedy in Half Moon Bay. My gratitude to the San Mateo Sheriff’s Office who took the suspect into custody and are working the two murders at the scene.”Half Moon Bay is a lovely and tight-knit community, and we all stand with them and the families of the victims during this darkest hour.”
President Biden released a statement on the shooting, which comes just a day after the deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park in Southern California, saying:
“Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in the latest tragic shooting in Half Moon Bay, California. For the second time in recent days, California communities are mourning the loss of loved ones in a senseless act of gun violence Briefing my homeland security team following, I have directed my administration to ensure that local officials and the wider Half Moon Bay community receive the full support of the federal government in the wake of this heinous attack.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom also reacted to the events, echoing sentiments over the two California shootings.
Newsom tweeted, “While visiting victims of the mass shooting in the hospital as I turned away to report on yet another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy upon tragedy.”
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Deschler at 1-800-547-2700.
ABC 7 News reporters JR Stone and Ansar Hassan and Amanda del Castillo contributed to this report.
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