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Suspect in shootings at Half Moon Bay farms was employee read full article at

HALF MOON BAY (CALIFORNIA): An agricultural employee killed seven individuals in back-to-back shootings at two mushroom farms that had employed him in Northern California and the bloodbath is believed to be a “workplace violence incident,” officers mentioned Tuesday because the state mourned its third mass killing in eight days.
Officers arrested 66-year-old Chunli Zhao on Monday after they discovered him in his automotive within the parking zone of a sheriff’s substation, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus mentioned.
Authorities imagine Zhao acted alone when he entered a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay, California, and opened hearth, killing 4 and leaving one other critically wounded. He then drove to a different close by farm the place he had beforehand labored, and killed one other three individuals, mentioned Eamonn Allen, a spokesman with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Workplace.
No additional particulars about Zhao’s motivation or the names of the individuals he allegedly killed had been launched as of Tuesday night. He was booked on suspicion of seven counts of homicide and one depend of tried homicide, jail information confirmed, and was being held with out bail.
At an earlier information convention, Allen declined to reply questions on whether or not Zhao had any earlier prison historical past, saying, “there were no specific indicators that would have led us to believe he was capable of something like this.”
“All of the evidence we have right now points to a workplace violence incident,” Allen mentioned. The lifeless had been 5 males and two girls. The eighth sufferer, a person, remained within the hospital. Some had been Asian and others had been Hispanic, and a few had been migrant staff.
It might 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, based mostly on courtroom paperwork.
The 2 had been roommates and labored at a restaurant on the time, and the person, recognized as Jingjiu Wang, filed a short lived restraining order in opposition to Zhao that was granted however is now not in impact. Wang couldn’t be instantly reached.
The sheriff’s workplace recognized the primary taking pictures location as Mountain Mushroom Farm. However California Terra Backyard took over the enterprise final yr, firm spokesperson David Oates mentioned. He didn’t know the way lengthy Zhao labored there, including that he was one among 35 staff who had stayed on when possession modified. Oates declined to offer particulars of the 4 slain staff.
The location of the second taking pictures was close by Harmony Farms. Proprietor Aaron Tung mentioned in a press release that the farm was ready for extra data earlier than it may remark. He thanked the neighborhood for its help.
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 big pumpkin pageant.
Earlier this month the realm was hit by heavy rainstorms that brought on flooding and injury, quickly stopping farmworkers from incomes, Half Moon Bay Vice Mayor Joaquin Jimenez mentioned. A number of farmworkers and their households lived in cell properties on the the mushroom farm the place the 4 died and had been relocated to inns and supplied psychological well being and different help after the shootings. He mentioned the farm employs 20 to 30 Chinese language and Latino staff, a few of them within the nation with out authorized permission.
“There’s a lot of fear. We have to understand, a lot of our farmworker community is also undocumented, so there’s also the fear of that, of their legal status. So for them to come forward to ask for help is going to be very difficult,” mentioned Jimenez, who can be the farmworker program director for the Latino advocacy group ALAS.
Hundreds of farmworkers work within the broader San Mateo County, an space identified for rising largely flowers, peas, Brussels sprouts and fava beans. There are a number of small mushroom growers within the space, mentioned BJ Burns, president of the San Mateo County Farm Bureau.
California was nonetheless reeling from an assault in Monterey Park, simply exterior Los Angeles, that killed 11 and solid a shadow over celebrations of Lunar New 12 months, an necessary vacation for a lot of Asian American communities. Authorities are nonetheless looking for a motive for the Saturday taking pictures.
“For the second time in recent days, California communities are mourning the loss of loved ones in a senseless act of gun violence,” President Joe Biden mentioned Tuesday. “Even as we await further details on these shootings, we know the scourge of gun violence across America requires stronger action.”
The brand new yr has introduced six mass killings within the US in fewer than three weeks, accounting for 39 deaths. Three have occurred in California since Jan. 16, in line with a database compiled by The Related Press, USA Right this moment and Northeastern College. The database tracks each mass killing – outlined as 4 lifeless, not together with the offender – within the U.S. since 2006.
About two hours after first receiving reviews of a taking pictures, a sheriff’s deputy noticed Zhao’s automotive parked exterior a sheriff’s substation in a strip mall and arrested him.
“He did not actively surrender to us,” Allen mentioned, declining to reply a query on why Zhao had pushed there.
Video confirmed three officers approaching a parked automotive with drawn weapons. Zhao obtained out and the officers pulled him to the bottom, put him in handcuffs and led him away. A weapon was discovered within the automobile, officers mentioned. The video was captured by Kati McHugh, a Half Moon Bay resident who witnessed the arrest.
“We’re still trying to understand exactly what happened and why, but it’s just incredibly, incredibly tragic,” mentioned state Sen. Josh Becker, who represents the realm and referred to as it “a very close-knit” agricultural neighborhood.
It is a majority-white neighborhood. A couple of third of the inhabitants is Latino and about 5% Asian, in line with Census information.
At a day information convention, Gov. Gavin Newsom mentioned he met with Chinese language farmworkers who heard the gunshots. Talking via a translator, they mentioned it was laborious to understand what was taking place.
“They had never heard a sound like that,” he mentioned.
The taking pictures was more likely to go away some locally fearful and trying to find different work, he mentioned.
“The trauma and the damage, the devastation, is felt for generations in some cases, communities being torn asunder no one feeling safe,” Newsom mentioned.
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 potential gang hyperlink to the killings.


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