Who is Chunli Zhao? Suspect in custody as Half Moon Bay mass shooting leaves 7 dead and 1 injured

The suspect
The suspect's motive remains unknown (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Image)

On January 23, 2023, Chunli Zhao, 67, allegedly killed seven people and injured another during a killing spree that targeted two farms in Half Moon Bay, California.

The shooting took place at approximately 2.20 pm. The initial shots were fired at Mountain Mushroom farm, where four individuals were found deceased, while one was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. The second shooting took place at Concord farm, where three more people were killed.

According to ABC7 San Francisco, Chunli Zhao was an employee at one of the farms that he opened fire on. While the motivation behind the mass shooting remains unknown, California authorities reported that the victims were his co-workers.

The New York Times reported that while children witnessed the killings, they were not targeted in the attack.

According to ABC, the suspect was arrested in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay Police Department at approximately 4.40 pm. San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus told reporters that she believed he had intended to surrender.

Chunli Zhao carried out the mass shooting after a supposed dispute with co-workers

According to Kron4, Dave Pine, President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, stated that while the motive behind the shooting remains unknown, it is believed that the suspect was a 'disgruntled worker'.

The suspect is reportedly a Chinese-American Half Moon Bay resident and is believed to be married. ABC reporters determined that he had worked at one of the mushroom farms targeted in the attack for decades, and that he attacked his fellow co-workers after a supposed dispute.

Sheriff Christina Corpus said that the suspect is fully cooperating with authorities.

Corpus said:

'We're working with our district attorney's office to interview the suspect."

She continued:

"He's believed to be a worker. We don't have the exact connection at the time - we are working to try and gather more information."

Chunli Zhao is currently in police custody.

The manhunt for Zhao

As reported by Reuters, in the aftermath of the shootings, local authorities released an alert identifying the suspect's vehicle. A New York Times reporter stated that his home was surrounded by the police, and that movement within his neighborhood was restricted.

However, the manhunt proved unnecessary, as Chunli Zhao drove to the police department shortly after the attack. He was discovered in his vehicle and did not resist arrest.

In an interview with Reuters, a woman who witnessed the arrest said that she had gone to the Sheriff's department to inquire about the shooting.

The woman, whose name was not disclosed, said:

“I came down here to find out what I could about the situation and why this happened and I hadn’t expected to get quite that close to it. It was a little too close for my comfort.”

CNN reported that America has seen more than 35 shootings in the first three weeks of 2023.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande