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7 Shot Dead in California Mass Shooting

7 Shot Dead in California Mass Shooting

Tuesday, 24 January, 2023 - 06:00
A law enforcement officer tapes off an entrance outside of a family reunification center after a shooting Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Half Moon Bay, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Seven people were killed in a mass shooting at two locations in the coastal northern California city of Half Moon Bay on Monday, and the suspect was arrested after driving to a police parking lot, apparently attempting to turn himself in, officials said.


The shooting in Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles (50 km) south of San Francisco, came on the heels of another mass shooting in the southern California city of Monterey Park on Saturday that killed 11 people.


Half Moon Bay is a small coastal city with agricultural roots, home to about 12,000 people. The city and surrounding San Mateo County area is known for producing flowers as well as vegetables like brussels sprouts.


California Governor Gavin Newsom said he was visiting Monterey Park victims in the hospital when he was called away and informed of the shooting in Half Moon Bay, about 380 miles (610 km) to the north.


"Tragedy upon tragedy," Newsom said on Twitter.


The rural area was recently pounded by a series of heavy rainstorms that caused extensive damage, affecting immigrant laborers in the area, farm worker advocates said. A series of atmospheric rivers in the three weeks following Christmas killed 20 people statewide.


San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus identified the suspect as Chunli Zhao, 67, and said he worked at one of the shooting locations. Corpus called the sites nurseries, and other officials said they were staffed by farm workers.


Local media described at least one of them as a mushroom farm.


"There were farm workers affected tonight. There were children on the scene at the incidents. This is a truly heartbreaking tragedy in our community," San Mateo County Supervisor Ray Mueller told reporters. "The amount of stress that's been on this community for weeks is really quite high."


The suspect was cooperating with investigators but a motive had yet to be established, Corpus said.


A semi-automatic handgun was found in his car, she said.


The new year has brought a shocking string of mass killings in the US — six in less than three weeks, accounting for 39 deaths. Three have occurred in California since Jan. 16, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. The database tracks every mass killing — defined as four dead not including the offender — committed in the US since 2006.


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