Report: Half Moon Bay shooting suspect angered by bill from on-site accident
SAN MATEO COUNTY – The San Mateo County District Attorney on Friday confirmed a report that the Half Moon Bay mass shooting suspect claimed the incident stemmed from his anger over a $100 equipment bill.
The suspect, 66-year-old Half Moon Bay resident Chunli Zhao, was arrested and charged with fatally shooting seven people at two Half Moon Bay area farms Monday afternoon.
The victims who died have been identified as Zhishen Liu, 73, Aixiang Zhang, 74, Qizhong Cheng, 66, Jingzhi Lu, 64, Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, Yetao Bing, 43, and Jose Romero Perez, 38. An eighth victim, Pedro Romero Perez, was critically injured but survived the shooting.
In a jail inteview with NBC News Thursday, Zhao claimed a forklift he was operating was hit by a coworker on a bulldozer and that he was asked to pay $100 to cover the cost of the damage.
Zhao went on to say he vented his frustration over the bill 30 minutes before the shooting.
He then went back to confront his boss again, shooting both his supervisor and the coworker he blamed for the accident.
On Friday afternoon, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe confirmed those details were consistent with what Shao told investigators during interviews.
Earlier Friday, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about the fatal shooting of seven people at two farm sites.
Eshoo, whose congressional district includes Half Moon Bay, talked on the House Floor about the coastal community being "as all-American as can be."
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She said, "It's a bucolic community on the magnificent California coastside. It is known for its pumpkin festival, it's known for its Maverick competition in terms of surfers, but it's also for over a century been known for its floriculture and its agriculture."
Eshoo said the killings allegedly by Zhao were "intentional, it was targeted, it was execution. And children witnessed this."
She called on her fellow members of Congress to consider their conscience in the wake of the tragedy, one of dozens of mass shootings around the country already in the first few weeks of 2023.
"When the number one cause of death of children in our nation is from gun violence, we have to stop and examine our conscience," Eshoo said. "We say 'home of the brave, land of the free'—my prayer today is that we will be the home of the safe."
A candlelight vigil is planned for 5 p.m. Friday at Mac Dutra Plaza on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. More community memorial events are planned next week, according to the city.
The city's CARES Team is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. by calling 988 or (650) 713-5467 for anyone seeking mental health resources. The San Mateo County Crisis Response Team is also available to provide mental health assistance by calling (800) 686-0101.
Those interested in donating to an emergency drive created for farmworkers affected by the recent floods and mass shooting in Half Moon Bay can visit https://gofund.me/ff938946. The group Farmworker Caravan, which helps farmworkers in the region, had raised more than $65,000 in the campaign as of late Friday afternoon.
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