On Monday afternoon, the idyllic coastal town of Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County, California was rocked by a tragic mass shooting that left seven people dead and one injured. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office reported that at around 2:22 p.m., four victims with gunshot wounds were found dead at a nursery along the 12700 block of San Mateo Road (Highway 92). Another victim was rushed to Stanford Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
But the horrors didn’t end there. A short time later, three more shooting victims were discovered at another nursery along the 2100 block of Cabrillo Highway South. The suspect, identified as 67-year-old Half Moon Bay resident Chunli Zhao, was taken into custody without incident at around 4:40 p.m. after he was found in his vehicle in the parking lot of the sheriff’s office substation in Half Moon Bay. A semi-automatic handgun was found in his car.
Authorities believe that Zhao acted alone in the shooting spree. The motives behind the tragedy are not yet known, but it is believed that the victims were all workers on the properties, specifically Chinese farmworkers.
The Half Moon Bay community is still trying to come to grips with the senseless violence that occurred in their town. “This is a devastating tragedy for this community and the families touched by this unspeakable act of violence,” said San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus. “They were farmworkers affected tonight. There were children on the scene of the incident. This is truly a heartbreaking incident in our community,” said Supervisor Ray Mueller.
A family reunification center was set up at IDES Hall, located at 735 Main St. in Half Moon Bay, for those affected by the tragedy. The shootings in Half Moon Bay come on the heels of a weekend mass shooting in the Southern California city of Monterey Park that left 11 people dead, making it another tragedy to hit home in San Mateo County.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, who was meeting with victims of the Monterey Park shooting when he learned about the mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, expressed his sorrow over the events “Tragedy upon tragedy,” he said in a tweet. Other local, state and federal leaders issued similar sentiments.