Updated Jan 24, 2023 - Politics & Policy

At least 7 dead in Half Moon Bay shooting

A San Mateo County sheriff's deputy helps a police car exit the scene of a shooting on Jan. 23 in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A suspected gunman was arrested in agricultural Northern California after two related shootings near San Francisco left at least seven people dead and one person with life-threatening injuries Monday, officials said.

Driving the news: The second mass shooting to hit California within three days resulted in four people being killed at a mushroom farm on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay and three others near a trucking facility less than a mile away, per San Mateo County Board of Supervisors president Dave Pine.

  • The injured victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment, officials said.
  • Children were present at the shooting scenes, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Christina Corpus said at a news conference that the suspected shooter, Chunli Zhao, was found in his car in the parking lot of a sheriff's office substation in Half Moon Bay, a coastal city of some 12,000 people in San Mateo County.

  • The 66-year-old was taken into custody "without incident" and the weapon was located in his vehicle, she added.

State of play: Half Moon Bay Councilmember Debbie Ruddock told NBC Bay Area that the victims in the shootings that began about 2:20pm local time were farm workers.

  • The FBI is assisting the sheriff's office "by providing investigative and forensic resources," the agency said in a statement.
  • Investigators believe the suspect was working alone and that he was a worker at the agricultural nursery, Corpus said.

What we're watching: Corpus said officials were working to determine Zhao's connection to the victims and to both scenes in San Mateo County, which is known for producing vegetables, flowers and permits cannabis farming in some areas.

A screenshot of California Gov. Gavin Newsom's tweet: "At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting"
Photo: Gov. Gavin Newsom/Twitter

What they're saying: "We are sickened by today's tragedy in Half Moon Bay," Pine said in a statement. "We have not even had time to grieve for those lost in the terrible shooting in Monterey Park. Gun violence must stop."

  • White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday night that President Biden had been briefed on the shooting and asked "federal law enforcement to provide any necessary assistance to the local authorities."
  • "Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in the latest tragic shooting in Half Moon Bay, California," President Biden said in a statement Tuesday.
  • "For the second time in recent days, California communities are mourning the loss of loved ones in a senseless act of gun violence," Biden added. He reiterated his call for Congress to pass an assault weapons ban.

The big picture: The mass shooting follows the one in Monterey Park, California, on Saturday night that killed 11 people and injured nine others on the eve of Lunar New Year.

  • Hours after the San Mateo County shootings, police in Oakland, California, said one person was killed and seven others injured in a shooting.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details. This story has also been corrected to reflect that Zhao is reportedly 66, not 67, as law enforcement initially said.

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