Investigators on Tuesday were still trying to determine the motive behind a mass shooting in Half Moon Bay that left seven farmworkers dead and one critically injured.
The shooting took place at two mushroom growing locations, one at about 2:20 p.m. on San Mateo Road (Highway 92) and the other shortly thereafter along Cabrillo Highway South (Highway 1). Multiple victims were found at both scenes.
The suspect, 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, is believed to have worked at one of the farms, and investigators believe he acted alone. He was taken into custody at about 4:40 p.m. in the parking lot of a San Mateo County sheriff’s substation in Half Moon Bay after a deputy spotted his vehicle.
Authorities believe he went to the station to surrender and say he’s cooperating with the investigation. A semi-automatic handgun was found in the vehicle.
He’s being held without bail on multiple first-degree murder charges.
Half Moon Bay Mayor Deborah Penrose spoke with NBC Bay Area early Tuesday, saying something needs to be done.
“Too many guns,” Penrose said. “Semi-automatic guns and automatic rifles need to be banned, period. There’s no excuse for it.”
All the victims were farmworkers, and there were children present at the scenes during the time of the shootings, officials said. Those impacted by the shooting gathered at a reunification center, where many stayed the night after the farms where they lived turned into crime scenes.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday released a statement addressing the Half Moon Bay mass shooting, saying in part: “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. Following a briefing from my homeland security team, I have directed my administration to ensure local authorities and the broader Half Moon Bay community have the full support of the federal government in the wake of this heinous attack. (Full statement below)
Local residents showed up at the reunification center to support the families affected.
“There’s lots of tragedies hitting our country right now, more mass shootings than the number of days in a month, and to hit our small town is really shocking,” Half Moon Bay resident Evany Sullivan said.
It was California’s second mass shooting in three days. On Saturday, a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in the Southern California city of Monterey Park, leaving 11 dead and nine injured.
President Biden’s full statement:
“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.
“Following a briefing from my homeland security team, I have directed my administration to ensure local authorities and the broader Half Moon Bay community have the full support of the federal government in the wake of this heinous attack.
“Yesterday, Senator Feinstein — alongside Senators Murphy, Blumenthal and others — reintroduced a federal Assault Weapons Ban and legislation that would raise the minimum purchase age for assault weapons to 21. Even as we await further details on these shootings, we know the scourge of gun violence across America requires stronger action. I once again urge both chambers of Congress to act quickly and deliver this Assault Weapons Ban to my desk, and take action to keep American communities, schools, workplaces, and homes safe.“
NBC Bay Area’s Terry McSweeney, Marianne Favro, Pete Suratos and Stephen Ellison contributed to this report.
Source: NBC Bay Area