Law/Justice

Suspect in shootings at Half Moon Bay farms was employee

FBI officials walk towards the crime scene at Mountain Mushroom Farm, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, after a gunman killed several people at two agricultural businesses in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Officers arrested a suspect in Monday’s shootings, 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, after they found him in his car in the parking lot of a sheriff’s substation, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said. (AP Photo/Aaron Kehoe)
FBI officials walk towards the crime scene at Mountain Mushroom Farm, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, after a gunman killed several people at two agricultural businesses in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Officers arrested a suspect in Monday’s shootings, 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, after they found him in his car in the parking lot of a sheriff’s substation, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said. (AP Photo/Aaron Kehoe)

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — A farmworker killed seven people in back-to-back shootings in a case of “workplace violence” at two Northern California mushroom farms, officials said Tuesday as the state mourned its third mass killing in just over a week.

Chunli Zhao, 66, was booked on suspicion of seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, jail records showed. He was being held without bail and scheduled for a Wednesday court appearance.

Authorities believe Zhao acted alone when he entered a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay, California, and opened fire, killing four and leaving another seriously wounded, San Mateo County Sheriff’s officials said. He then drove to another nearby farm where he had previously worked, and killed another three people, said Eamonn Allen, a sheriff’s spokesman.

Officials have not yet released the names of the five men and two women who died, nor the one man who was injured. Some were Asian and others were Hispanic, and some were migrant workers.

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