Seven people were killed in two related shootings in a coastal community south of San Francisco, authorities said Monday, the latest mass shooting in California in less than a week.
The shootings happened at two plant nurseries on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay, California, a small city about 30 miles south of San Francisco, authorities said. San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa tweeted that one shooting happened at a mushroom farm.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said four victims were found with gunshot wounds at the first shooting scene. A fifth victim was transported to the Stanford Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Three additional victims were found shortly after at the second scene.
A suspect, Chunli Zhao, 67, a resident of Half Moon Bay, was found in his car in the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office Half Moon Bay Police Substation more than two hours after deputies arrived at the first shooting scene, Sheriff Christina Corpus said.
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Zhao was taken into custody “without incident” and a semi-automatic handgun was located in his vehicle, according to Corpus.
“Zhao is believed to have acted alone, and there is no further threat to this community,” Corpus said during a Monday night press conference. “This is a devastating tragedy for this community and the families touched by this unspeakable act of violence.”
The sheriff’s office and the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office are working on interviewing Zhao to find a possible motive, Corpus added.
Officials believe Zhao is a worker at one of the facilities and that the victims were workers as well. Some workers at one facility lived on the premises and children may have witnessed the shooting, Corpus said. The connection between the new facilities wasn’t clear.
Corpus said officials hadn’t determined a motive for the shooting, though county Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine described the suspect as a “disgruntled worker.”
The shootings came days after 11 people were killed in Monterey Park, California — a close-knit, predominantly Asian American community — amid Lunar New Year weekend celebrations. A 72-year-old gunman attacked a local dance hall that was popular among older community members. The Monterey Park shooting has been called the deadliest shooting in Los Angeles County’s history by officials.
Half Moon Bay is a small coastal city with agricultural roots now home to about 12,000 people. The city and surrounding San Mateo County area are known for producing flowers as well as vegetables like brussel sprouts. The county allows cannabis farming in certain areas.
It’s a majority white community and about 5% of the population is Asian, according to Census data.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted that he was “at the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy upon tragedy.”
Contributing: The Associated Press