HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KRON) — A suspect is in custody in connection to separate shootings that left seven people dead and one in critical condition in Half Moon Bay on Monday afternoon, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed. At this time, officials say there is no ongoing threat to the public.
At 2:22 p.m., deputies were called to the 12700 block of San Mateo Road (also known as State Route 92) to answer a report of a shooting with multiple victims at an agricultural facility. Upon arriving at the scene, deputies found four victims deceased with gunshot wounds. A fifth victim suffering from gunshot wounds was transported to Stanford Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, police said.
The suspect was not initially located at the time.
Three additional victims were located deceased in a separate shooting scene on the 2100 block of Cabrillo Highway, at a second agricultural facility, authorities said.
An investigation identified the multiple homicide suspect as Chunli Zhao, a 67-year old man from Half Moon Bay. Zhao was located in his vehicle in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay substation by a sheriff’s deputy.
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine tells The Associated Press that the suspect worked for one of the businesses involved in the shooting, and he may have been a “disgruntled worker.”
Authorities have since received a search warrant for the maroon SUV that Zhao was found in. By 8 p.m., law enforcement could be seen searching the vehicle.
San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus held a press conference at the Half Moon Bay Substation located on Kelly Avenue to share further details.
“This is a devastating tragedy for this community and the many families touched by this unspeakable act of violence,” Corpus said. Corpus told media at the press conference that Zhao is being interviewed by investigators.
Corpus said that due to the time of day, children were in the area when the shooting took place. “For children to witness this…it’s unspeakable,” she said. It is also believed that Zhao may have a spouse, Corpus confirmed.
Corpus told media that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is on the scene at this time. The FBI later confirmed that the agency is providing “investigative and forensic resources” to local authorities at this time.
Corpus was unable to confirm if the weapon used in the shootings was purchased legally or not, due to the status of the investigation.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting, according to a tweet from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. California Governor Gavin Newsom says that he was at the hospital meeting victims of the deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park when he was informed of the shootings in Half Moon Bay. “Tragedy upon tragedy,” he said.
KRON4 has also obtained a photo of the suspect in custody. The photo shows the suspect surrounded by several members of law enforcement, and the suspect’s hat is partially down over their face.
A daycare named Holy Family Children’s Center located on HWY 1 was placed on lockdown in relation to the incident at around 3 p.m., officials confirmed to KRON4. As of 5 p.m., all children at the daycare had been safely picked up.
Traffic is currently being redirected due to road closures on Hwy 92. Drivers are asked to use Hwy 1 thru Pacifica as an alternate route, according to the Pacifica Police Department.
A reunification center has been established at I.D.E.S. Portugese Hall of Half Moon Bay at 735 Main Street. Anyone in need of mental health support following the shootings can also head to the reunification center.
Currently there is no known motive for the shootings, but it is believed that Zhao acted alone in these shootings. Anyone who has information about these incidents is asked to contact Detective Deschler at 1-800-547-2700.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.