7 dead and one injured

A man opened fire on people at two different locations in Half Moon Bay on Monday afternoon, killing seven and wounding one, as children watched the tragedy unfold, according to police.

The suspect, 67-year-old Zhao Chunli, is believed to be a farm worker who acted alone in the mass shooting, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said at an evening news conference.

Deputies were first dispatched to the 12700 block of San Mateo Road, Highway 92, at 2:22 pm, where they found four people shot dead and a fifth victim, who was transported to Stanford Medical Center with serious injuries. The person remained in critical condition as of Monday night.
Shortly thereafter, authorities found three more people dead from gunshot wounds in the 2100 block of Cabrillo Highway South, according to a statement from Sheriff’s Captain Eamonn Allen.
The suspect drove from one location to the next, the sheriff said. Both scenes were nurseries, authorities said, and all of the victims appeared to be workers. Officers were still trying to determine which location the shooter went to first.
The motive or connections between the suspect and the victims are still unknown, the sheriff said, adding that investigators were interviewing Zhao as night fell.

Initial reports indicated that a semi-automatic handgun was located in the car, although Corpus said it could not confirm the type of weapon used or found with the suspect.
“As I understand it, he is fully cooperating with us,” said Corpus. “We just don’t have the answers yet.”
Zhao, a resident of Half Moon Bay, worked at one of the locations.

The suspect was arrested at 4:40 pm, when a police officer spotted Zhao’s car in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay Sheriff’s Substation. He was taken into custody peacefully. It was unclear how long he was parked there before he was arrested.
“For kids to witness this is indescribable,” said Corpus. “This is a devastating tragedy for this community and for the many families affected by this unspeakable act of violence.”
The Sheriff opened a family reunification center at IDES Hall at 735 Main St.
Inside, around 35 people, including a group of children, were waiting for news more than six hours after the shooting, the room silent except for a woman sobbing in a corner. Volunteers distributed food and soda cans, as well as blankets.
“It’s probably going to be a long night, but we’re here for you,” County Supervisor Ray Mueller told the crowd. “We have counseling services here to help support you. Chaplains here if you want to talk to a person of faith. Please don’t save everything. Please talk to people.
The family members, who appeared to be mostly Latino, waited in a circle, all communications translated or spoken in Spanish.

“We are with you here today, tomorrow and always,” said a volunteer in Spanish. “We don’t have a plan for tomorrow, but we do have a plan for today.”
While they waited, investigators continued to search the scene of the shooting and began searching the interior of the suspect’s car.
One of the locations where the victims were found was a local mushroom farm, according to Half Moon Bay City Council member Joaquin Jimenez, who is also program director for ALAS, a nonprofit organization that serves farm workers. .

“It’s something you see on the news and never think it’s going to happen to you,” Jimenez said at the press conference. “Today, we are in the news.”
San Mateo County Supervisor David Pine told The Chronicle he is deeply saddened for the families and “frustrated by the ongoing gun violence in this country.”
The massacre has hit a community already devastated by recent flooding and storm damage, officials noted.

“There were farm workers affected tonight,” Mueller told a news conference. “There were children at the scene of the incidents. This is a truly moving incident.”
He urged people to seek mental health help if needed.
The explosion of violence occurred the day after a mass shooting in Monterey Park (Los Angeles County). Public officials and anti-gun violence advocates still reeling from the deaths of 11 in Monterey Park over the Lunar New Year were quick to condemn the bloodshed in Half Moon Bay on Monday.
“At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting, when I was pulled away to be told about another mass shooting,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. “This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy after tragedy.”

“First Monterey Park and now Half Moon Bay,” San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said in a statement. “That’s enough. How many more must die?”
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo praised the sheriff for quickly arresting a suspect as events quickly unfolded at the two crime scenes.
“Half Moon Bay is a beloved and close-knit community, and we all stand with them and the victims’ families during this dark hour,” she said.

Former Representative Jackie Speier asked on social media when Congress “will have the courage to do something about gun violence”.
“A mass shooting has hit my beloved community of Half Moon Bay, one of the last places you would expect such an abominable act,” she said. “We celebrate pumpkin festivals and holiday parades there.”
Reporter Mallory Moench contributed to this report.
Joel Umanzor, Rachel Swan and Jill Tucker are staff writers for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Twitter: @rachelswan @jilltucker

7 dead and one injured

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