Half Moon Bay: Latest massacre is among 3 mass shootings in 44 hours in California

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As Californians grapple with three deadly shootings in three days, investigators near San Francisco are trying to figure out why a 66-year-old man could have killed seven people in a massacre that has devastated the Asian-American community yet again.


The US has already suffered 39 mass shootings this month – more than any other start of the year on record. In California, at least 19 people have been killed in mass shootings in just 44 hours, starting Saturday night, with:

• Eleven people killed after a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park, near Los Angeles;

• Seven people killed Monday in the Half Moon Bay area near San Francisco;

• One person killed and seven injured Monday night in Oakland.

While the motives remain a mystery, the Half Moon Bay murders bear some similarities to the carnage in Monterey Park. It was there that 72-year-old Huu Can Tran killed 20 people – killing 11 – during Lunar New Year weekend celebrations, officials said.

Both cases share ties with the Asian-American community – already under attack since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. And the shooter or suspect in each is of Asian descent and much older than the average age of 33 for mass shooting perpetrators, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

At least several victims in both massacres were also of Asian descent.

“What we do know is that some of the victims were Chinese, that the perpetrator was Chinese and that this was a farming community – they were farm workers,” Half Moon Bay Mayor Deborah Penrose told CNN This Morning on Tuesday. -fair.

In the Half Moon Bay incident, suspect Chunli Zhao was taken into custody about two hours after the first call to the police as he was parked at the sheriff’s substation with a semi-automatic weapon in his vehicle, the sheriff said.

San Mateo County officials found four people dead and one person injured at a mushroom farm. Moments later, three more people were found dead near a trucking facility about two miles away in Half Moon Bay, county officials said.

That same night, more bloodshed unfolded – this time in the Bay Area city of Oakland. One person was killed and seven others injured are in stable condition, local police said.

California Governor Gavin Newsom was at a hospital tending to injured victims of the Monterey Park shooting when he was “pulled away to be briefed on another shooting – this time in Half Moon Bay,” he said.

“Tragedy after tragedy,” Newsom tweeted.

President Joe Biden is praying Tuesday for the victims in Half Moon Bay and again urging Congress to “move quickly” and ban assault weapons, he said in a statement, adding: “We know that the scourge of gun violence in all of America requires stronger action. ”

The mayor of Monterey Park, still stunned by the massacre in his city, offered his condolences to the mourners in Half Moon Bay.

“I know what’s in store for them in the days ahead,” said Mayor Henry Lo, offering his support during their “long road to recovery.”

Owners of the San Mateo County mushroom farm had no knowledge of the shooter or his motive, they said.

“We are shaken and very anxious to get more information from authorities and their investigations,” Concord Farms said in a statement to CNN. “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the Chinese-American community – from Half Moon Bay to Monterey Park.”

The Half Moon Bay community must unite in healing — and support each other in dealing with gun violence — said San Mateo County Supervisor Ray Mueller.

“There were farm workers affected tonight; there were children at the scene of the incidents. This is a truly heartbreaking tragedy in our community,” said Mueller.

Mueller spoke about the mental health impact the violence has unleashed on the community and urged people to reach out for help, especially as the city is trying to recover from the impact of the recent deadly floods that swept across large areas of the state.

“Please take advantage of the mental health crisis counseling that is available,” he said, adding that anyone can contact the county’s hotline. “You are not alone.”

Half Moon Bay Deputy Mayor Joaquin Jimenez also urged residents to seek mental health counseling.

“This is something we see in the news. Never think you’re going to come and hit home,” Jimenez said. “Today, we are the news. Our community has been affected.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong age for Chunli Zhao. He is 66 years old.

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