Watch CBS News

Accused Half Moon Bay gunman Chunli Zhao pleads not guilty in mass murder case

Half Moon Bay shooting suspect sobs in court during hearing
Half Moon Bay shooting suspect sobs in court during hearing 01:07

REDWOOD CITY -- Wearing a red jail jumpsuit with his head bowed, accused Half Moon Bay gunman Chunli Zhao pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges stemming from a mass shooting that left 7 fellow farmworkers dead.

Unlike his appearance in court last week, Zhao stood behind a glass pane in the courtroom and showed no emotions while entering his plea. A Mandarin translator relayed several questions from the judge.

He also waved his right to a preliminary hearing within 60 days. San Mateo County Judge Elizabeth K. Lee ordered him back to court for a hearing on May 3.


Zhao is charged with seven counts of murder and one of attempted murder for the Jan. 23 shooting spree which targeted coworkers at two Half Moon Bay mushroom farms.  

Unlike previous hearings, the attorneys handling the case were under a gag order on Thursday.

Zhao was an employee at the formerly-named Mountain Mushroom Farm, now in operation as California Terra Garden, where four people were shot dead. He had previously worked at Concord Farms, the second shooting location, where authorities said he allegedly killed three people.

The victims who died have been identified as Yetao Bing, 43, Zhishen Liu, 73, Aixiang Zhang, 74, Qizhong Cheng, 66, Jingzhi Lu, 64, Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, and Jose Romero Perez, 38.  An eighth victim, Pedro Romero Perez, was critically injured but survived the shooting.  

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.