On Monday afternoon, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to San Mateo Road for a report of multiple people shot. When they arrived, they found five people with gunshot wounds, four of whom were dead and one in critical condition. Shortly after, deputies found three more people shot dead miles away on Cabrillo Highway South.
According to San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus, both locations were roughly a mile apart and the victims were believed to be farm workers. The Sheriff’s office is working to gather more information and figure out the connection between the two locations.
The Suspected Gunman
The sheriff’s office has identified 67-year-old Chunli Zhao of Half Moon Bay as the suspected gunman. Deputies found him in his vehicle in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay substation. He was arrested there and deputies found the weapon used in the shootings. The suspect is currently being held at a correctional center in Redwood City, about 11 miles from Half Moon Bay. He will be in court today to face a number of charges.
Residents of Half Moon Bay are desperate for answers and say they are living a nightmare. They cannot believe that seven people in their community were killed. They have come together at the Portuguese Hall in Main Street, where a reunification center has been set up for families looking for answers and loved ones. At the height of it, 40 people were staying there, including more than a dozen children.
What is really hard for this small community is learning that some of the children living at both farms had to witness the violence. One community member said, “I cannot imagine what those kids witnessed.”
Community members have been stopping by to donate supplies such as toiletries and more. The reunification center serves as a safe haven for families looking for answers. There are currently two separate crime scenes that investigators are processing.