Seven people were killed Monday in two related shootings at agricultural facilities in the California coastal community south of San Francisco, the state’s third mass killing in eight days, including Saturday’s attack at a dance hall during Lunar New Year celebrations. Was.
San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said officers arrested Chunli Zhao, 67, a suspect in Monday’s shooting after they found him in his car in the parking lot of a sheriff’s substation.
The sheriff’s office said four people were killed and a fifth injured at a farm, and authorities found three other people dead at another location several miles away. The murders occurred on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay, approximately 30 miles (48 km) south of San Francisco. Corpus said the two locations were nurseries, and it was not immediately clear how they were connected.
The new year has brought a shocking spate of mass killings in the US – six in less than three weeks, accounting for 39 deaths. There have been three incidents in California since January 16, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. The database tracks every mass murder—defined as four dead including the perpetrator—in the US since 2006.
Corpus said authorities believe Zhao is an employee at a facility and that the victims were also employees. He said some workers at one facility lived on the premises and that children may have witnessed the shooting.
Corpus said authorities have not determined a motive for the shooting.
Joaquin Jimenez, the vice mayor of Half Moon Bay, said the victims included Chinese and Latino farmers.
The sheriff’s office was first informed of shots fired just before 2:30 p.m. and four people were found dead of gunshot wounds and a fifth person was first wounded at the scene. Shortly thereafter, officers found three more people dead of gunshot wounds at a second location nearby, Capt. Eamon Allen said in a news release.
About two hours after the first response, a sheriff’s deputy spotted suspect Zhao in his car parked outside a sheriff’s substation in a strip mall and arrested him, recognizing the car by its license plate.
A video of the arrest shows three officers armed with weapons approaching a parked car. Zhao got out of the car, and officers pulled him to the ground, handcuffed him, and took him away. Authorities said a weapon was found in his vehicle. The video was captured by Half Moon Bay resident Kati McHugh, who witnessed the arrest.
The Sheriff’s Department believes that Zhao acted alone.
“We’re still trying to understand exactly what happened and why, but it’s incredibly, incredibly sad,” said state Sen. Josh Baker, who represents the area. A very close” says the farming community.
Aerial television images showed police officers collecting evidence from a farm with dozens of greenhouses.
Half Moon Bay is a small coastal town with agricultural roots, home to approximately 12,000 people. The city and the surrounding San Mateo County area are known for the production of flowers as well as vegetables such as Brussels sprouts. The county allows the cultivation of cannabis in certain areas.
According to census data, it is a majority white community and about 5% of the population is Asian.
“We are deeply saddened by today’s tragedy in Half Moon Bay,” Paine said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted that he was “meeting with victims of a mass shooting in the hospital when I got pulled over to report on another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy.” But tragedy.”
On January 16, six people, including a teenage mother and her child, were killed in a shooting at a home in California’s Central Valley.