California is reeling after three mass shootings in as many days

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Seven people were killed and one seriously injured in a mass shooting at two mushroom farms in the town of Half Moon Bay on Monday afternoon. UKTN Bay Area reports this. A suspect turned himself in.

It was California’s second mass shooting in three days and another followed hours later.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were sent to the Magic Mushroom Farm after a report of a shooting with multiple victims.

Deputies found four bodies with gunshot wounds, the office said, and a fifth victim, also with gunshot wounds, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Deputies then rushed to a nearby second shooting scene — Concord Farms, also a mushroom farm, where three more people were found dead, the sheriff’s office said.

An exterior view of a mass shooting scene in Half Moon Bay, California on January 23, 2023. / Credit: Jeff Chiu / UKTN

While it was not clear if the two farms were connected, the suspect was described as a disgruntled employee who worked at one of them.

Joaquin Jimenez, vice mayor of Half Moon Bay, said the victims included Chinese and Latino farm workers.

At some point late Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said a media staging would be held at a substation between the two farms. At around 4:40 p.m., a man wearing a white baseball-style cap was seen being led away from the substation in handcuffs.

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According to the sheriff’s office, the suspect in the shooting drove himself to the substation and surrendered. UKTN Bay Area cameras were present:

Officers take a man, identified as Zhao Chunli, into custody after he drove to a sheriff's media pick-up area following multiple shootings in Half Moon Bay that killed at least seven people, January 23, 2023. /Credit: CBS

Officers take a man, identified as Zhao Chunli, into custody after he drove to a sheriff’s media pick-up area following multiple shootings in Half Moon Bay that killed at least seven people, January 23, 2023. /Credit: UKTN

The suspect was identified as 67-year-old Zhao Chunli, a resident of Half Moon Bay. The gun used in the shootings was found in his vehicle, the sheriff’s office said.

Authorities later said they believed the weapon – a semi-automatic rifle – was the only weapon used in the shooting, but could not say whether it was obtained legally.

Zhao Chunli, suspect in the Half Moon Bay mass shooting.  / Credit: California DMV

Zhao Chunli, suspect in the Half Moon Bay mass shooting. / Credit: California DMV

A family reunification center that was established was also used to accommodate families living in homes too close to the crime scene to return home.

“These kinds of shootings are appalling,” San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus noted at a news conference Monday evening. “It’s a tragedy that we hear about way too often, but today it hits here in San Mateo County.”

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The motive for the shooting was not immediately known.

It came just two days after a mass shooting in Monterey Park after a Lunar New Year Festival Saturday night left at least 11 people dead. Later on Monday, at least one person was killed and seven others injured in one shooting at a gas station in Oaklandthe authorities said.

On January 16, a 16-year-old mother and her 10-month-old baby were among six people shot dead in what the local sheriff called a “massacre” at a home in California’s Central Valley.

Nestled along the Northern California coast, Half Moon Bay is a quiet agricultural bedroom community best known for its annual pumpkin festival and the Mavericks big wave surfing competition.

Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted about the latest mass shooting in his state, saying he was visiting the victims of the Monterey Park shooting at the hospital when he was pulled away and recounting what happened in Half Moon Bay.

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“Tragedy upon tragedy,” the governor observed.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted that President Biden had been briefed about the Half Moon Bay shooting and has “asked federal law enforcement to provide local authorities with necessary assistance.” The FBI confirmed it is assisting the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office with “investigative and forensic resources.”

“This is a great tragedy. When any of us think of Half Moon Bay, it’s always a happy, happy thought. It’s the home of the Pumpkin Festival. It’s the Mavericks Surfing Competition. But today it’s murder. Seven Precious Lives lost,” Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) said in an interview with UKTN News Bay Area. “We don’t understand why. We are thankful that the sheriff’s department has taken the suspect into custody. But this is the shattering of the lives of seven families and it is my understanding that one person was taken to Stanford Medical Center for treatment and I understand it’s serious.”

Eshoo also said officials are using Chinese and Spanish interpreters to communicate with the families of the victims in Half Moon Bay.

“We are sickened 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 died in the horrific Monterey Park shooting. The gun violence must stop.”

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