Half Moon Bay mass shooting was 2nd incident at California Terra Garden in 7 months, San Mateo County district attorney says

Half Moon Bay, California — The shocked Half Moon Bay community continues to mourn the shooting that left seven people dead and one seriously injured.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaff said California Terra Gardens, formerly known as Mountain Mushroom Farm, was the site of another shooting in July 2022.

According to the DA, both the suspect and the victim in the incident were the managers of Half Moon Bay Farm.

RELATED: What You Need to Know About Victims Killed in Mass Shooting at Half Moon Bay Mushroom Farm

The two men lived in a trailer on the farm and had ongoing work-related tensions.

The DA office said the victim heard the suspect banging on his front door at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, July 1, threatening to kill him and his family. increase.

The suspect fired a gun through the victim’s glass door.

Deputies then arrested a suspect they said smelled of alcohol and denied shooting.

The July shootings and the recent one involved a variety of people and a variety of circumstances, but what they had in common was tension among farm workers.

The official motive for the recent shooting has not been revealed by the district attorney, but investigators said the suspect, 66-year-old Chunli Zhao, may have fueled his anger leading up to the attack. He is said to have been abused with an offensive nickname.

Details: More mass shootings in the US in 2023 than days, according to database

Local leaders are currently investigating working and living conditions on the farm.

For now, as more details emerge about the cause of the shooting and the condition of the farm, the main focus of locals remains to help and heal each other.

CA investigating condition of HMB farm workers after shooting

The state is currently investigating the condition of farm workers following the Half Moon Bay shootings at two mushroom farms, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.

A spokesperson for Newsom’s office tweeted a statement, saying the state was investigating farms to ensure “workers are treated fairly and with the care they deserve.”

At a news conference Tuesday, Governor Newsom said he had been informed of the “deplorable” living and working conditions of farm workers at the site involved in the shooting.

He was told that farm workers were paid $9 an hour and lived in shipping containers.

“Many workers have no choice but to accept the terms offered by their employers,” said part of the governor’s office statement. “Our country depends on their toilsome work, but Congress cannot even give them the stability to support their families and work in this country without fear of deportation, and their vulnerability at work. It’s contributing to sex. It’s not a way of life.”

Take Action: Resources for Those Affected by the Half Moon Bay Shooting

The spokesperson also tweeted that Cal/OSHA and the Labor Board’s office are investigating whether there have been labor and workplace safety and health violations at the farm.

On Thursday, 40 farm worker families have been waking up in hotels for the third straight day after being evicted from their farm homes.

“When people are asking what we can do, can we reach out and find a home?” said Belinda Arriaga, founder of Half Moon Bay nonprofit ALAS. said like this. “Do you have a house that can be rented to multiple families? Can you find a caring landlord?”

Arriaga says Monday’s shooting has put their poor living conditions in the spotlight.

County officials say these families should be allowed back to the farm by Friday, but Arriaga said they wouldn’t let them return to the same living conditions.

“Increasingly, our low-income communities, especially those of farm workers, can no longer afford rent and are sometimes relegated to substandard living conditions,” she said. You live in a crowded place, you live in a muddy place with campers and trailers, no stoves in it, it’s just really hard and you have kids there.”

After a flood of aid for Wednesday’s emergency food and clothing drive for 40 displaced families, including those of the shooting victims, Arriaga says it is no longer accepting physical donations, but instead directs people to make monetary donations through this website or food. Redeem your gift card in person at the Half Her Moon Her Bay store located at 636 Purissima Street.

“Whatever we can do, we will use every dollar to make a difference,” she said. “It takes community to make change, and it takes community to heal.”

City officials have confirmed that they are directing all monetary donations through the ALAS website to help victims of the shooting.

Suspect charged in shooting

A farm worker accused of killing seven people in shootings at two mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay has been charged with seven counts of murder. Prosecutors filed charges on Wednesday.

Chunli Zhao, 66, was scheduled to appear in court for the first time on Wednesday but has been postponed until Feb. 16, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

When Zhao first entered the courtroom, his face was covered with yellow paper and his hands were shivering and shackled.

A Mandarin interpreter was used for communication between the court and the suspects. Zhao is detained without bail.

Outside the court, Wagstaff explained that Cho was charged with seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Says.

HMB Shooting Suspect Denied Bail, No Answer at First Trial

The maximum penalty for these charges is life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Zhao is currently out on bail pending arraignment on February 16.

Officials believe Zhao acted alone when he broke into a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay and opened fire, killing four and seriously injuring one, San Mateo County Sheriff officials say person said. He then drove to another nearby farm where he used to work, and he also killed three people, said Sheriff’s spokesman Eamon Allen.

Who are the victims?

Authorities have identified seven victims who were killed.

Liu Shen Shen73 years old, from San Francisco

Marciano Martinez Jimenez 50, in Moss Beach

Jose Romero Perez

Ai Shan Chang74 years old, from San Francisco

Chee Chung Chen66, in Half Moon Bay

Ye Tao Bing43 years old, residence unknown

Jin Gee Lou64, in Half Moon Bay

A criminal complaint filed against Zhao also identified the surviving victim as Pedro Romero Perez.

According to Servando Martinez-Jiménez, one of the victims, his brother Marciano Jimenez-Martínez, was a delivery person and manager at one of the farms. He didn’t mention Zhao or anything about his problems with other workers.

Jiménez Martínez said in Spanish: “He was a nice guy. He was polite and friendly with everyone. He had no problems with anyone. I don’t understand how this happened.” I can’t,” he said.

VIDEO: Grieving families of Half Moon Bay shooting victims prepare to send loved ones back to Mexico

Marciano Jimenez Martinez has lived in the United States for 28 years after arriving from Oaxaca, Mexico. Servando Jiménez Martínez said he was working with the Mexican consulate to bring home his brother’s body.

Jose Romero Perez’s cousin says he left his wife and four children in Mexico. When he called his family to tell them he had been killed, he says they couldn’t believe it.

Jose worked on a mountain mushroom farm with his brother Pedro, who got a job.

What I Learned About Chun-Li Zhao

Investigators told ABC7’s Stephanie Sierra that Zhao was a forklift driver on one of the farms for five to six years. He also lived on a farm that was fairly common among workers.

Several sources confirmed to the I-Team that the victims were killed in an execution style described as a “deliberate and horrific attack”.

Investigators said the 66-year-old suspect, Chunli Zhao, was taunted with an offensive nickname that may have fueled the anger that led to the attack.

Detectives say Zhao deliberately targeted all eight victims because fellow Asian and Latino farm workers were reportedly involved in the ongoing feud.

It is still unclear whether it was an isolated incident that escalated into an event.

RELATED: What We Know About Half Moon Bay Shooting Suspect Chunli Zhao

Researchers also noted concerns about language barriers. Zhao spoke Mandarin and the other workers mostly Spanish. It is not clear what role this played in the shooting.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaff said he did not believe it was a hate crime, according to Cho’s statement, and offered further insight.

“Last night he made a statement here at the building that lasted several hours. “It wasn’t a hate crime, it was simply a workplace dispute, as Sheriff Corpus put it.”

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Watch Police Arrest Suspect in Half Moon Bay Shooting

Sources told ABC7 I-Team that Zhao was found in a car in the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office’s Half Moon Bay Police Station after the shooting. Sources said his seat reclined and the semi-automatic pistol was next to Zhao. The suspect allegedly tried to text his wife, “See you in the afterlife.”

According to court documents obtained by ABC7 News I-Team, Zhao was previously served with a restraining order by a former colleague and roommate. The person claimed that Zhao threatened him and even tried to smother him with his pillow when he lost his job. .

Friends of Half Moon Bay victims demand more from farm workers

Flowers, candles and signs. A memorial to his seven deceased is erected at Half His Moon Bay. On Wednesday night, those we spoke to knew that Marciano Martinez was also one of his favorite victims and was from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Lupe Contreras said, “We used to say hello and chat randomly about how we were spending our days, so I’m very sad to hear that he passed away due to the incident.

“He likes to play guitar and sometimes I think he’s playing guitar in church with other friends. It’s heartbreaking not just for me, but for the whole town,” said Carina Santiago. I was.

The victims were Asian and Mexican immigrants. Many of their families are still waiting to go home, staying in hotels paid for by the mushroom farms where they live and work. I’m saying

People at California Terra Gardens (formerly Mountain Mushroom Farm), where one of the shootings took place, responded that “shipping containers don’t reflect what’s on the property,” and that workers passed county inspections before being moved. He says he lives in a trailer or large RV. .

It also says that employee wages have risen from $16.50 to just over $20 an hour, and farms charge about $300 for families to live there.

Some people we spoke to said they didn’t believe it.

“It’s not true. Many people[farm workers]live in terrible conditions and no one knows it. They are afraid to speak up against their employers.” said Santiago. Is there no one to stand up for them and for them? ’ Her reply was simply ‘Nobody!

Sad to hear when so many lives were lost.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Get the latest on the deadly Half Moon Bay shooting here.

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