HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — A farmworker accused of killing seven folks in back-to-back shootings at two Northern California mushroom farms will likely be charged with seven counts of homicide and certainly one of tried homicide, a prosecutor stated Wednesday.
The fees will likely be filed earlier than Chunli Zhao, 66, makes his first courtroom look Wednesday afternoon, stated Steve Wagstaffe, the district legal professional for San Mateo County.
It was not instantly clear whether or not Zhao had an legal professional who may communicate on his behalf.
Authorities consider Zhao acted alone Monday when he entered a mushroom farm the place he labored in Half Moon Bay and opened fireplace, killing 4 folks and significantly wounding a fifth, San Mateo County sheriff’s officers stated. He then drove to a different close by farm the place he had beforehand labored and killed a further three folks, stated Eamonn Allen, a sheriff’s spokesperson.
The sheriff’s workplace stated it believes the shootings had been “workplace violence” however has not additional detailed a motive. It was California’s third mass shooting in eight days, together with the killing of 11 in Monterey Park within the Los Angeles space amid Lunar New Yr celebrations Saturday.
Zhao additionally faces a particular circumstance allegation of a number of homicide, in addition to sentencing enhancements on every depend for the usage of a firearm, Wagstaffe stated.
If convicted of the particular circumstance, Zhao may face life in jail with out the opportunity of parole or the dying penalty. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on executions in 2019.
Officers haven’t but launched the names of the 5 males and two girls who died, nor the one man who was injured. Some had been Asian and others had been Hispanic, and a few had been migrant employees.
Servando Martinez Jimenez stated his brother Marciano Martinez Jimenez, who was a supply individual and supervisor at one of many farms, was amongst these killed. Servando Martinez Jimenez stated his brother by no means talked about Zhao or stated something about issues with different employees.
“He was a good person. He was polite and friendly with everyone. He never had any problems with anyone. I don’t understand why all this happened,” Martinez Jimenez stated in Spanish.
Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, had lived in the US for 28 years after arriving from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Servando Martinez Jimenez stated he’s working with the Mexican consulate to get his brother’s physique residence.
Allen declined to reply questions on whether or not Zhao had any earlier legal historical past, saying, “there were no specific indicators that would have led us to believe he was capable of something like this.”
However it will not have been Zhao’s first match of office rage, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. In 2013 Zhao was accused of threatening to separate a coworker’s head open with a knife and individually tried to suffocate the person with a pillow, the Chronicle reported, primarily based on courtroom paperwork.
The 2 had been roommates and labored at a restaurant, and the person, recognized as Jingjiu Wang, filed a short lived restraining order towards Zhao that was granted however is not in impact. Wang couldn’t be instantly reached, the Chronicle reported.
The shootings occurred at California Terra Backyard, beforehand often called Mountain Mushroom Farm, and close by Harmony Farms.
David Oates, a California Terra Backyard spokesperson, stated that he didn’t understand how lengthy Zhao labored there and that he was certainly one of 35 staff who had stayed when possession modified. Oates declined to offer particulars of the 4 slain employees.
Harmony Farms proprietor Aaron Tung stated in a press release that the farm was ready for extra info earlier than it may remark.
Half Moon Bay is a small, laid-back, coastal and agricultural metropolis about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of San Francisco. Its sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean make it a preferred spot for hikers and vacationers, who flock there to surf and for an annual large pumpkin competition.
The brand new 12 months has introduced six mass killings in the U.S. in fewer than three weeks, accounting for 39 deaths. Three have occurred in California since Jan. 16, in response to a database compiled by The Related Press, USA Right this moment and Northeastern College. The database tracks each mass killing — outlined as 4 useless, not together with the offender — within the U.S. since 2006.
The shootings in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park adopted the killing of a teenage mom, her child and 6 others at a house in California’s Central Valley on Jan. 16. Officers discussing the investigation talked about a doable gang hyperlink to the killings.
Gecker reported from San Francisco.