‘workplace violence’ fueled mass killing of Half Moon Bay employees

‘workplace violence’ fueled mass killing of Half Moon Bay employees
‘workplace violence’ fueled mass killing of Half Moon Bay employees

HALF MOON BAY – The 66-year-old shooter who carried out a shooting in Half Moon Bay had legally purchased his firearm, had no prior contact with local law enforcement and was an employee of the one of the farms he was aiming for.

At a Tuesday morning news conference, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said six men and two women were allegedly shot by Chunli Zhao, a resident of Half Moon Bay.

Scene of a mass shooting at a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay, California on January 23, 2023.


Officials later confirmed that five of the men and the two women were killed. A male victim underwent surgery at Stanford and is in stable condition.

They also confirmed that Zhao was an employee of the Mountain Mushroom Farm. He had previously worked at Concord Farms where he killed three people.

Corpus said the only known connection between the shooter and his victims is that “they may have been colleagues”.

“All the evidence we have points to this being workplace violence,” Corpus told reporters. “The Mountain Mushroom Farm, the first location, was where the suspect was employed.”

Corpus said the coroner’s office faced the difficult challenge of notifying the families of the seven workers who were killed because many were migrants.

Zhoa was incarcerated at the San Mateo County Maguire Correctional Center on seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Each count also included an enhancement to the use of a firearm during the alleged crimes.

He was to be formally charged in an arraignment on Wednesday.

“Zhao had no known criminal history in San Mateo County and there were no prior factors known to law enforcement that would have suggested that Zhao was about to commit this heinous act of violence,” they said. officials said in a press release.

Meanwhile, the California Terra Garden, operator of the Mountain Mushroom Farm, issued a distressed statement.

“We remain shocked and heartbroken by the senseless loss of four of our longtime friends and employees, and we pray for the team member who remains in critical condition,” the statement read.

The incident began with the 2:22 p.m. dispatch of San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputies to the Mountain Mushroom Farm on San Mateo Road near Highway 1 in unincorporated San Mateo County following a report of a shooting with multiple victims.

Upon arrival, deputies located four deceased victims with gunshot wounds. A fifth victim, also with gunshot wounds, was transported to Stanford Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

READ ALSO :Scourge of gun violence;’ Local politicians react to Half Moon Bay mass shooting

Deputies then rushed to the second shooting scene — this one at another mushroom farm located at 2125 Cabrillo Highway S./Highway 1. Three more deceased victims were found there shortly after, the sheriff’s office said. .

Although it is not yet clear how the two companies could be related, the suspect was described as a disgruntled employee who worked at one of the farms.

A view from above of the mushroom house showed MPs and law enforcement personnel gathered outside one of the site’s many greenhouses. What appeared to be a body under a yellow tarp was visible at the entrance to one of the greenhouses.

Officers take a man identified as Zhao Chunli into custody after he went to the sheriff’s office media staging area following multiple shootings in Half Moon Bay that left at least seven people dead, the January 23, 2023.


During the police response to the shooting, the sheriff’s office said a media staging would be located at a substation at 537 Kelly Ave. At approximately 4:40 p.m., a man wearing a white baseball-style cap was seen walking away from the substation. in handcuffs.

According to the sheriff’s office, Zhao drove to the substation between the two businesses and surrendered to the deputies. The weapon – a semi-automatic handgun – used in the shooting was found in Zhao’s vehicle.

Chunli Zhao

California DMV

“It was a legally purchased, owned gun,” San Mateo Sheriff Captain Eamonn Allen told reporters.

A family reunification center has been set up at IDES Hall at 735 Main St. in Half Moon Bay. The hall also provides shelter for families who live in residences too close to crime scenes to allow them to return home.

“This kind of shooting is horrible,” Corpus said at a Monday night news conference. “It’s a tragedy we hear about too often, but today it strikes here in San Mateo County.”

Raw: San Mateo County Sheriff Provides Update on Half Moon Bay Mass Shooting


Half Moon Bay Vice Mayor Joaquin Jimenez said the victims included Chinese and Latino farm workers.

While no information has been released by the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office regarding the identities of those who lost their lives in the shooting Monday night, a woman has confirmed she lost her partner in the fatal incident.

Alicia Ortega told KPIX that her partner works as a mushroom house manager at 2125 Cabrillo Highway, near Highway 1.

His worst nightmare came true Monday night. Ortega confirmed that his partner, Martin Martinez, was one of those shot and killed inside the mushroom house. His colleague told him that he had witnessed the crime.

“In the morning when he goes to work, that’s the last time,” Ortega said of the last words she said to him.

Monday’s shooting in Half Moon Bay is the worst mass shooting in the Bay Area since the VTA shooting in San Jose in May 2021.

No motive has been announced in the deadly shooting. The incident comes just two days after a mass shooting in Monterey Park after a Lunar New Year festival on Saturday night that left 10 dead and injured 10 others.

Around 11 a.m. on Sunday, Torrance police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies surrounded a white pickup truck described as a vehicle of interest on Hawthorne and Sepulveda boulevards near the Del Amo mall, about 30 miles north. south of Monterey Park.

The sheriff’s department said the suspect shot and killed himself inside the van. Detectives found evidence in the van, including a gun, linking him to both locations. No other suspects have been sought.

Investigators identified the shooter as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran.

Monday, an 11th person died from “their serious injuries”, according to an announcement from LAC+ USC Medical Center.

Nestled along the northern California coast, Half Moon Bay is a quiet farming dormitory community famous for its annual Pumpkin Festival and Mavericks surfing competition.

Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted about California’s latest mass shooting, saying he was visiting Monterey Park shooting victims in hospital when he was pulled out and recounting what happened at Half Moon Bay.

“Tragedy upon tragedy,” the governor tweeted.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted that President Biden had been briefed on the fatal shooting and “asked federal law enforcement to provide all necessary assistance to local authorities” . The FBI confirmed it was assisting the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office with “investigative and forensic resources.”

“It’s a huge tragedy. When any of us think of Half Moon Bay, it’s always a happy and pleasant thought. It is the place of the Pumpkin Festival. It’s the Mavericks’ surfing competition. But today, it’s murder. Seven precious lives lost,” he added. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) said in an interview with CBS News Bay Area. “We don’t understand why. We are grateful to the sheriff’s department for having the suspect in custody. But this is the split in the lives of seven families and I understand one person was taken to Stanford Medical Center for treatment and I understand this is serious.”

Eshoo also said officials were bringing in Chinese and Spanish interpreters to communicate with families of victims in Half Moon Bay.

“We are heartbroken by today’s tragedy in Half Moon Bay,” Dave Pine, chairman of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement. “We haven’t even had time to mourn those who lost their lives in the terrible shooting in Monterey Park. Armed violence must stop.”

. Update update violence work fueled mass murder of employees Moon Bay

. workplace violence fueled mass killing Moon Bay employees

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