Jan 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Half Moon Bay shooting sparked by $100 repair bill, prosecutor says

people pay their respects after a candlelight vigil

People pay their respects after a candlelight vigil in honor of the mass shooting victims in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Jan. 27. Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in the Half Moon Bay shootings reportedly told investigators that he carried out the attacks following a dispute over a $100 repair bill, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Bay Area News Group on Friday.

Catch up quick: The suspect, Chunli Zhao, admitted in a jailhouse interview earlier this week he was responsible for the shootings, which left seven people dead and one injured.

  • Four people were killed at a mushroom farm on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay and three others near a trucking facility less than a mile away. Zhao had been employed at the mushroom farm.
  • San Mateo County Sheriff spokesperson Eamonn Allen said at the press conference earlier this week that all evidence pointed to a "workplace violence incident."
  • Zhao said in the jailhouse interview that he had been bullied and worked long hours, with the issues going unaddressed, NBC Bay Area reported.

The big picture: Zhao told investigators he was angered by the $100 bill to repair a forklift that was damaged in a collision with a co-worker’s bulldozer, Wagstaffe said, the Bay Area News Group reported.

  • Wagstaffe's account confirmed reporting from NBC's local affiliate in the San Francisco Bay Area, which first reported the development.
  • Prior to the shooting, Zhao expressed his frustration about the bill to his supervisor and the co-worker, whom he blamed for the collision, but the supervisor insisted he pay, according to Wagstaffe, per AP.
  • Zhao then allegedly shot the supervisor and co-worker.
  • While Zhao had long felt aggrieved by work-related issues, the repair bill might have "lit the candle," Wagstaffe said, Fox2 KTVU reported.
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