Watch CBS News

Evidence points to "workplace violence" in Half Moon Bay mass shooting, police say

Suspect in custody in Half Moon Bay shootings
7 dead in Half Moon Bay shootings, suspect in custody 02:21

Police said evidence indicates the mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, California, that left seven people dead and one seriously wounded was likely an incident of workplace violence. 

The only known connection between the victims and the suspect is that they may have been coworkers, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said in a news conference Tuesday morning. 

The shootings took place in two locations on Monday. The first location, Mountain Mushroom Farm, is where the suspect, identified by the sheriff as 66-year-old Chunli Zhao, was believed to have been employed. There, authorities found four people dead and one wounded. The second location was also a mushroom farm, about a mile away, where officials found three people dead. 

The identities of the victims have not been released because officials are still working to notify families. Five males and two females were killed, sheriff's Lt. Jonathan Sebring told CBS News in an email Tuesday. Corpus had initially reported that the victims included six males and one female.

The victims were a mix of Hispanic and Asian descent. Corpus said, and the man who was wounded is out of surgery and in stable condition. 

Suspect in Half Moon Bay, California, shootings taken into custody 03:59

Public information officer Eamonn Allen said that he could not comment on whether the victims were random or if they had been specifically targeted. He also did not share what other information led authorities to suspect it was an incident of workplace violence. 

"I will say that there were no specific indicators that would have led us to believe he was capable of something like this, and he was not known to us or to have any sort of, again, indicators that might have led us to believe this was something he might have done," Allen said. 

Authorities said the gun used in the shootings was a semiautomatic handgun, and they said it was legally purchased and owned. 

Zhao remains in custody after having been arrested by members of the sheriff's department. The district attorney for Half Moon Bay said that an arraignment will be held Wednesday afternoon, and said that charges have yet to be determined but will likely involve counts of homicide. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference Tuesday at the Portuguese Culture Center in Half Moon Bay, where he said he barely had the chance to process the Monterey Park shooting on Saturday before dealing with another mass shooting in the state. 

Newsom said "only in America" is gun violence so out of control. Although it is still January, there have been 39 mass shootings so far this year, the governor noted. 

"The common denominator is these damn guns," Newsom said. "Gun safety saves lives. The modern gun safety movement started with Ronald Reagan. The right wing should look that guy up!"

"Gun safety works. We will not back away from that resolve," Newsom added. "Where has the Republican party been on gun reform? They've blocked it every step of the way. Shame on them. You deserve better. Only in America do you see this kind of carnage."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.