Authorities are working to figure out why a 67-year-old man might have killed seven people in a small coastal town near San Francisco — the third mass shooting to rock California in as many days and one that has left another Asian American community shaken.
Just hours after the suspect in Monday’s Half Moon Bay attacks, Chunli Zhao, was taken into custody while parked at a sheriff’s substation with a semi-automatic handgun in his car, someone else was killed and seven people were injured by a spray of bullets on the way in Oaklandthe San Mateo Sheriff’s Office and Oakland police said.
After the fatal shooting of 11 people by 72-year-old shooter during Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park, the massacres brought the state’s carnage toll to 19 mass shooting deaths in just 44 hours — and contributed to 39 mass shootings with a watch so far this year in the scourge of gun violence in America.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom was meeting at a hospital with victims of the Monterey Park carnage when he was “pulled over to be informed of another shooting — this time in Half Moon Bay,” he said.
“Tragedy after Tragedy,” Newsom tweeted.
“This kind of shooting is horrific,” San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said Monday night as she detailed the shootings at two locations in the Half Moon Bay community of about 11,000 people. “It’s a tragedy we hear about all too often, but today it felt right at home here in San Mateo County.”
Investigators worked with the district attorney to question Zhao, of Half Moon Bay, who was cooperating with authorities after being taken into custody about two hours after the shooting was reported around 2:22 p.m., the sheriff said.
“We know that some of the victims are Chinese, that the perpetrator is Chinese, and that this is a farming community — they were farm workers,” Half Moon Bay Mayor Deborah Penrose told CNN This Morning on Tuesday.
One shooting happened at a mushroom farm and another near a trucking facility about two miles away, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dan Pine said. Officers found four victims dead and one injured at one location and three others dead at another, Corpus said. It is still unclear where the shooting started.
The injured man was in critical condition at a hospital Monday night, Corpus said.
The owners of the mushroom farm had no information about the shooter or his motive, the statement said.
“We are shocked and very eager to receive more information from the authorities and their investigations,” Concord Farms said in a statement to CNN. “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the Chinese-American community from Half Moon Bay to Monterey Park.”
With his own city still stunned by the violence, the mayor of Monterey Park offered his condolences to the residents of Half Moon Bay, saying the community was now on a “long road to recovery.”
“I know what’s in store for them in the next few days,” said Mayor Henry Law.
The Half Moon Bay community needs to come together in healing – and support each other to address gun violence San Mateo County Supervisor Ray Mueller said.
“There were farm workers affected tonight; there were children at the scene of the accident. This is a truly heartbreaking tragedy in our community,” Mueller said.
Mueller spoke about the mental health toll the violence has unleashed on the community and urged people to seek help, especially as the city tries to recover from the impact of recent deadly flood which stretched across large parts of the state.
“Please take advantage of the mental health crisis counseling available,” he said, adding that anyone can contact county hotline. “You are not alone.”
Half Moon Bay Deputy Mayor Joaquin Jimenez also urged residents to seek mental health counseling.
“It’s something we can watch on the news. Never think he’s going to come and hit a home run,” Jimenez said. “Today we are the news. Our community is affected.”
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