California witnesses 3 mass shootings in 44 hours; 7 dead in Half Moon Bay, 1 in Oakland

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California has witnessed three mass shootings in 44 hours. The latest events occurred on Monday, January 23, in Half Moon Bay and Oakland. Half Moon Bay, a small coastal town near San Francisco, saw another Asian-American community devastated by violence just days after the terrible incident in Monterey Park.

Monday, seven people were killed by a 67-year-old man, Chunli Zhao, a resident of Half Moon Bay. Initially, four people were found dead off the Cabrillo Highway at 2:22 PM local time, and one was wounded at a mushroom farm. Minutes later, three more people were found dead at a close-by trucking facility roughly a mile away.

About two hours after San Mateo County officials found the bodies, Zhao was arrested. He was found sitting in his car, parked in the lot of a sheriff’s substation. He was taken into custody with no incident, and a weapon matching the one officials were looking for was located in his car.

Sheriff Christina Corpus stated that authorities believe Zhao acted alone, and no motive has been established yet. Like the victims, Zhao is also a farm worker. Corpus stated this could be a case of workplace violence. Chunli Zhao is an employee of the Mountain Mushroom Farm, where the first four victims were found.

The Half Moon Bay community has already been affected by severe storms; now, they must endure the aftermath of a mass shooting. Vice Mayor Joaquin Jimenez commented, “This is something we see on the news. You never think that it’s going to happen at home. Today, we are this news. Our community has been affected … There’s not much I can say about the pain we are enduring.”

Jimenez and County Supervisor Ray Mueller encouraged residents to seek available mental health counseling. 

There are undeniable similarities between the Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park shootings. Both gunmen are of Asian descent, share ties to Asian-American communities, and are much older than the average age of mass shooters. 

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe announced Tuesday that Zhao would be arraigned tomorrow. The charges will be determined by Wednesday morning, but they will “obviously” include the seven homicides.

Just hours after Chunli Zhao killed seven people, there was another shooting in the Golden State. Officers were dispatched to Macarthur Boulevard in Oakland, where they found multiple bullet casings but no victims. Law enforcement soon discovered a shooting between “several individuals” had taken place, which injured seven people and killed one.

Cover Image: Jeff Chiu/AP

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