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Half Moon Bay massacre suspect charged with seven counts of murder, dark details about his past emerge


Chunli Zhao, 66, of Chinese origin, had lived in the US for more than a decade. The shooting that left seven dead is not the first act of violence of which he has been accused: in 2013 a co-worker denounced him for threatening to open his head with a knife.

By Olga R. Rodriguez and Jocelyn Gecker -

The Associated Press

The farm worker suspected of killing seven people in connected shootings at two Northern California mushroom farms was charged Wednesday with seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Chunli Zhao, 66, was scheduled to appear in court for the first time on Wednesday, but proceedings were adjourned until February 16, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

His two lawyers did not immediately return calls and emails seeking comment.

Wagstaffe refused outside court to share additional details about possible motives for the attack on his client's co-workers, saying he wanted to prevent Zhao from being tried in the court of public opinion.

Chunli Zhao, 66, is accused of murdering seven co-workers at two mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay, California.AP

The mass shooting in which Zhao is charged is the third in California in eight days, and the most serious in San Mateo County's history, Wagstaffe said.

The attack came just days after the killing of 11 people at a Los Angeles dance hall during Lunar New Year celebrations.

Authorities believe Zhao acted alone when he entered a farm where he worked in Half Moon Bay on Monday, killing four people and critically injuring a fifth.

He then went to a nearby farm where he had previously worked and killed three other people, according to Eamonn Allen, a sheriff's spokesman.

Possible sentences, if found guilty

The charges against him include additional charges that could result

in the death penalty or life in prison

without parole, although Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a moratorium on executions.

The coroner's office identified six of the victims: Zhishen Liu, 73, of San Francisco;

Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, of Moss Beach;

Aixiang Zhang, 74, of San Francisco;

Qizhong Cheng, 66, of Half Moon Bay;

Jingzhi Lu, 64, of Half Moon Bay;

and Yetao Bing, 43, whose hometown is unknown.

Court documents identify José Romero Pérez as the other person killed and Pedro Romero Pérez as the eighth victim, who survived the shooting and is hospitalized.

Two shootings leave at least seven dead and one injured in a California farming community

Jan 24, 202302:12

Authorities have stated that some of the people killed were migrant workers.

Servando Martínez Jiménez said that his brother Marciano Martínez Jiménez, one of the victims, was a delivery man and manager at one of the farms.

“He was a good person.

He was polite and friendly with everyone.

He never had a problem with anyone.

I don't understand why all this has happened," said Martínez Jiménez.

Marciano Martínez Jiménez had lived in the United States for 28 years after emigrating from Oaxaca (Mexico).

Servando Martínez Jiménez said he is working with the Mexican consulate to repatriate his brother's body to his home country.

[In addition to the reasons, they investigate why the police were slow to alert the shooting in Monterey Park]

The shooting would not have been Zhao's first outburst of workplace rage, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In 2013, the suspect was accused of threatening to split a co-worker's head open with a knife.

He also tried to suffocate the man with a pillow, the newspaper reported, citing court documents.

Two shootings in Half Moon Bay, California, leave at least seven dead and one seriously injured

Jan 24, 202301:55

Both of them were roommates and worked in a restaurant.

The alleged victim, identified as Jingjiu Wang, filed a temporary restraining order against Zhao, which was granted but is no longer in effect.

The suspect had lived in the US for more than a decade

Zhao is of Chinese descent and has lived in the United States for at least a dozen years, according to Wagstaffe.

It is known that he has had legal documentation to live in the country, although investigators were determining whether it was still valid.

They were also looking into his previous encounters with law enforcement.

The shootings occurred at California Terra Garden Farms, formerly known as Mountain Mushroom Farm, and nearby Concord Farms.

[Teacher shot by 6-year-old student to sue school district alleging it ignored multiple alerts]

Most farmworkers in the area are Latino, but Mountain Mushroom Farm was one of the few that employed Asian workers, said Belinda Hernandez, executive director of ALAS, a Half Moon Bay-based farmworker advocacy group. .

She said

mushroom farms offer the advantage of working year-round.

David Oates, a spokesman for California Terra Garden, said he did not know how long Zhao had worked there and that he was one of 35 employees who had stayed on when it changed ownership.

And Aaron Tung, co-owner of Concord Farms, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

In addition to the reasons, they investigate why the police were slow to alert of the shooting in Monterey Park

Jan 25, 202300:27

Half Moon Bay is a small, sleepy coastal farming town located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of San Francisco.

Its expansive views of the Pacific Ocean make it a popular spot for hikers and tourists, who flock there for surfing and an annual giant pumpkin festival.

bleeding start of 2023

In the new year there have been six mass murders in the United States in less than three weeks, with a balance of 39 deaths.

Three of them have occurred in California, according to a joint database by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.

The database records since 2006 all mass murders, defined as such from the four dead, not including the aggressor.

The Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park shootings follow the "narco-style" killing of a teenage mother, her baby and four others at a home in California's Central Valley on January 16.

Officials speaking about the investigation mentioned a possible gang link to the killings.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-26

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