Seven people have been reported killed and one person critically injured in two related shootings at a mushroom farm and a trucking firm in a coastal community in northern California, and a suspect is in custody.
The new bloodshed in the United States came less than 48 hours after a gunman killed 11 people at a Lunar New Year celebration near Los Angeles, California, on Saturday night.
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine said on Monday that four people were killed at a mushroom farm and three at the trucking business on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay, a city about 48km (30 miles) south of San Francisco.
It was not immediately clear how the locations were connected, though Pine said the suspect worked for one of the businesses. He called the suspect a “disgruntled worker”.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office tweeted just before 5pm local time (01:00 GMT) that a suspect was in custody.
“The Sheriff’s Office is responding to a shooting incident with multiple victims in the area of [Highway] 92 and the [Half Moon Bay] City limits,” the office tweeted.
“There is no ongoing threat to the community at this time,” the sheriff’s office said.
*Update* Suspect is in custody. There is no ongoing threat to the community at this time.
— San Mateo County S.O (@SMCSheriff) January 24, 2023
Television footage from the area showed officers taking a man into custody without incident. Aerial television images also showed police officers collecting evidence from a farm with dozens of greenhouses.
Christina Corpus, San Mateo County Sheriff, said the motive for the shooting was currently unknown.
The suspect was identified by Corpus as 67-year-old Half Moon Bay resident Chunli Zhao, who was “taken into custody without incident” after being located in his vehicle in the parking lot of the sheriff’s substation in Half Moon Bay, she said. A semi-automatic handgun was found in the suspect’s vehicle.
Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from Los Angeles, said one person critically injured in the shooting was being treated in hospital. According to Reynolds, a local council woman had described the victims as “ethnic Chinese” agricultural workers who were working at the mushroom farm and, apparently, also at the trucking company.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office first received reports of a shooting just before 2:30 pm (22:30 GMT) and found four people dead from gunshot wounds and a fifth injured person at the first scene. Shortly after, officers found three more people dead from gunshot wounds at a second location about 8km (5 miles) away, Captain Eamonn Allen said in a news release.
The shooting followed the killing of 11 people late on Saturday at a Lunar New Year event at a ballroom dance hall in Monterey Park in Southern California.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has been in Monterey Park where that massacre took place, took to Twitter moments after news broke of the new killings.
“At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy upon tragedy.”
At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay.
Tragedy upon tragedy.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 24, 2023
“We are sickened by today’s tragedy in Half Moon Bay,” Dave Pine added 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,” he said.
“The status quo cannot be tolerated.”
Mental health services and counselling is being organised for the community, another supervisor, Ray Mueller, said in the statement.
Statements from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Regarding Today’s Shootings in Half Moon Bay: https://t.co/0k9PNeP4Qq
— County of San Mateo (@sanmateoco) January 24, 2023
The shooting in Monterey Park marked the fifth mass shooting in the US this month and the deadliest since 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to the AP/USA Today database on mass killings in the country.
The US suffered 647 shootings with four or more victims in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.