Police arrested Chunli Zhao, 66, in connection with two separate shootings Jan. 23 at farms in Half Moon Bay that killed seven people and injured one.
First responders received a call about an active shooter at Mountain Mushroom Farm on San Mateo Road near Highway 1 and Concord Farms off Cabrillo Hwy S. around 2:20 p.m. It was less than 48 hours since the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California.
Zhao sat in his car near a police substation, and was taken into custody without incident. San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said at a press conference Jan. 24 that Zhao had legally purchased the semi-automatic handgun they believe he used during the shootings.
Victims Were Farmworkers
Authorities say among the victims are seven men and one woman of Asian and Hispanic descent. The specific identities of the seven people killed and one injured are unclear at this time. The United Farm Workers union said in a statement that the seven people killed were farm workers. The farms where the shootings occurred employed several migrant workers.
CNN reports that investigators believe Zhao worked at one of the farms where he allegedly carried out the shootings. They say it was a workplace violence incident.
“What we know is this turned into a workplace violence incident and he had an opportunity, we believe, to hurt other people, but he targeted individuals that he went after and pursued,” Corpus said at a press conference.
Prior Restraining Orders
The Bay Area News Group reports that Zhao, a decade ago, had threatened to suffocate and use a knife to split open the head of a South Bay restaurant co-worker after he quit his job there. Days later, he asked for his job back, threatening consequences if he was not allowed to work there. Restraining orders against the alleged killer have been issued multiple times.
California Governor Gavin Newsom met with the families of the victims at a hospital Jan. 23. President Joe Biden has also offered his condolences.