Half Moon Bay shooting: Seven dead in California

Suspect arrested in car park of police station after incidents south of San Francisco

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The man accused of fatally shooting seven people in northern California was in custody on Tuesday as the Golden State reels from the second mass shooting in as many days.

The latest violence unfolded on Monday at two different mushroom farms on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay, a coastal city about 50 kilometres south of San Francisco, authorities said.

The local sheriff’s office received reports of the shooting at one farm, where they found four people dead and a fifth wounded.

Police then found three more people fatally shot at a second farm nearby, Capt Eamonn Allen said in a news release.

Police officers detain a man believed to be the Half Moon Bay mass shooting suspect on Monday. Reuters

Police arrested Chunli Zhao after finding him in his car at a sheriff’s substation car park, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said.

“Chunli was taken into custody without incident and the weapon was located in his vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “There is no current outstanding threat to the community.”

Television footage showed armed police forcing a man to the ground and taking him into custody.

Aerial television images also showed officers collecting evidence from a farm with dozens of greenhouses.

Half Moon Bay Vice Mayor Joaquin Jimenez said the victims included Chinese and Latino farmworkers. Some workers lived at one of the sites and children may have witnessed the shooting, he said.

Sheriff Corpus said it was not immediately clear how the two locations were connected.

The names of the victims have yet to be released.

“We do know that some of the victims were Chinese, that the perpetrator was Chinese and that this was an agricultural community — they were agricultural workers,” Half Moon Bay Mayor Deborah Penrose told CNN on Tuesday.

The deaths come two days after another mass shooting unfolded further south in California, where at least 11 people were killed in a massacre at a Monterey Park ballroom east of Los Angeles — the largest mass shooting in Los Angeles County history.

President Joe Biden, who had already ordered that flags at federal buildings be flown at half-mast to honour the Monterey Park victims, weighed in on the spate of mass killings in California.

“For the second time in recent days, California communities are mourning the loss of loved ones in a senseless act of gun violence,” Mr Biden said on Tuesday as he endorsed an assault weapons ban.

“Even as we await further details on these shootings, we know the scourge of gun violence across America requires stronger action.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he was visiting shooting victims in hospital when he learnt of the Half Moon Bay killings.

“Tragedy after tragedy,” he said on Twitter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: January 24, 2023, 5:00 PM
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