HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KRON) — A mass shooting left seven victims dead in Half Moon Bay, a small California beach town known for pumpkin patches and surfing. Four victims were gunned down at a nursey and farm, and three more victims were fatally shot at a second farm.
Children and farm workers witnessed the horrific violence, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said.
The suspected gunman was tackled by deputies in front of TV news reporters who were gathered in a media staging area at a sheriff’s substation.
Sheriff’s Captain Eamonn Allen identified the suspect as 66-year-old Chunli Zhao of Half Moon Bay. Chunli was a “disgruntled worker” who worked for one of the farms, according to County Supervisor Dave Pine.
The mass shooting and arrest rapidly unfolded in just over two hours.
Half Moon Bay Mass Shooting Timeline
2:22 p.m. – San Mate County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a farm on the 12700 block of Highway 92 to investigate a shooting with multiple victims.
- When deputies arrived at the first shooting scene, they found four victims dead. All four had been shot. A fifth victim was suffering from life-threatening gunshot wounds.
- Minutes later, deputies arrived at a second farm on the 2100 block of Cabrillo Highway and found three more victims dead. The two homicide scenes were about five miles apart.
3:30 p.m. – The gunman remained at large.
3:48 p.m. – The Sheriff’s Office asked all members of the media to gather at a media staging area set up at the sheriff’s Half Moon Bay substation at 537 Kelly Avenue.
4:02 p.m. – A Stanford Life Flight helicopter landed in Half Moon Bay and flew the surviving gunshot victim to a trauma center.
4:30 p.m. – The gunman still remained at large.
4:40 p.m. – Chunli Zhao drove up to the media staging area in the sheriff’s sub station parking lot near where TV cameras were set up. A sheriff’s deputy spotted Zhao parking the SUV and recognized his license plate. Three deputies with guns drawn ordered Zhao to put his hands up and lay facedown on the ground. KRON4 Reporter Sara Stinson recorded video showing deputies swarming around the man and hauling him away in handcuffs.
The man apparently wanted to turn himself in with cameras rolling and he shouted at one camera.
4:50 p.m. – Deputies searched the SUV and found the suspected mass shooting weapon, a semi-automatic handgun.
5:30 p.m. – San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine issued a statement writing, “The scourge of gun violence has sadly hit home. We have not even had time to grieve for those lost in the terrible shooting in Monterey Park.” California Governor Gavin Newsom said he was in a hospital meeting with Monterey Park mass shooting victims, when, “I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy upon tragedy.”
5:40 p.m. – U.S. President Joe Biden was briefed by his Homeland Security Advisor on Half Moon Bay.
6:50 p.m. – Sheriff Sheriff Christina Corpus held a press conference and announced “Zhao is believed to have acted alone. We know he acted alone. There is no further threat to the community.” There were children present when the mass shooting occurred. Corpus said, “This is a devastating tragedy for this community and the many families touched by this unspeakable act of violence.”
- At the press conference Half Moon Bay’s vice mayor said the victims were “families and farm workers.”
7:40 p.m. – The San Mateo County Sheriff has not released a motive yet behind the violence. A connection between the suspect and victims was revealed. Zhao and the victims worked at one of the farms. Some workers at one farm lived on the premises with their families, Sheriff Corpus said. Zhao was cooperating with investigators as of Monday evening.
- The FBI announced its agents are assisting the sheriff for the investigation.