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Family member confirms identity of victim killed in Half Moon Bay mass shooting

Family member confirms identity of victim killed in Half Moon Bay mass shooting
Family member confirms identity of victim killed in Half Moon Bay mass shooting 03:26

HALF MOON BAY -- In the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Half Moon Bay Monday, family members who received unimaginably terrible news or still hadn't heard from loved ones tried to cope at the reunification center at IDES Hall on Main Street.

The San Mateo County Sheriff confirmed seven people were killed and one was critically wounded in two separate shootings at mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay, with the suspect allegedly responsible in custody after turning himself in to authorities.  

Half Moon Bay mass-shooting victim's partner Alicia Ortega.
Half Moon Bay mass-shooting victim's partner Alicia Ortega. CBS

The reunification center was set up by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office after the magnitude of the shooting and its wide impact on the community became clear.

Alicia Ortega spent Monday afternoon anxious and distraught, trying to get in touch with her partner who works as a manager at the mushroom farm at 2125 Cabrillo Highway near Highway 1. 

"The morning, when he go to work, is the last time," Ortega said of the last words she spoke with him. 

Her worst nightmare became a reality hours later. Ortega told KPIX that her partner, Martin Martinez, was shot inside the mushroom farm. His coworker told her he witnessed the crime. 

The San Mateo County coroner's office is expected to confirm the identities of the people who lost their lives in the shooting after notifying next of kin, but no information had been provided as of late Monday night.

Loved ones of victims and those living in the active crime scene area gathered at the family reunification center on Main Street Monday night. 

Coastal residents and volunteers from the nonprofit ALAS, which responds to natural disasters and emergencies, answered the community's call for help. 

"I walked into my boss' office at 4 and I said, 'There's four people dead in my town I have to go.' And the farmworkers on the coast have a rough life as it is. This is just terrible," said volunteer Kate Shea. 

Shea and Lizette Diaz helped bring blankets, warm meals and snacks to those affected by the mass shooting. 

They started off the year volunteering to help storm victims who are still flooded out of their homes. 

"It's been a rocky road the past couple of weeks. I mean, the community comes out when we reach out. The community does come to help. And that's what I love about the coast," said Diaz. 

Diaz is still trying to process the sudden burst of violence in her quiet agricultural town. 

"I was shocked. I mean, I never thought something like this would happen in a small, close community. We're all very close. We all know each other, we know our neighbors, we know the people who work within our community. It was heartbreaking," said Diaz.  

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