Children Were Present at Half Moon Bay Mass Shooting, Witnessed Massacre: 'Unspeakable'

Police arrested 66-year-old Zhao Chunli in connection with Monday's mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP/Shutterstock (13732338b) Police tape is placed near the scene of a shooting, in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Multiple people were killed in two related shootings Monday at a mushroom farm and a trucking firm in a coastal community south of San Francisco, and officials say a suspect is in custody Northern California Fatal Shooting, Half Moon Bay, United States - 23 Jan 2023
Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP/Shutterstock

Authorities say several children were present at the mass shooting incident in Half Moon Bay, Calif. that claimed the lives of seven people on Monday.

In an interview with CNN, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said that the shooting seemed to be a "workplace violence" incident at a farm, and that several children witnessed the attack.

"It was a big rural location, so people are working," Corpus told CNN. "It's spread out, there's people that live at the location as well. It was in the afternoon when kids were out of school. For children to witness this is unspeakable."

No children were physically injured in the attack.

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The shootings occurred over two separate locations in the small coastal town, just south of San Francisco.

In one location off the Cabrillo Highway, four people were found dead around 2:22 p.m. local time. A fifth victim also suffered life-threatening injuries and was rushed to Stanford Medical Center. Later, three more bodies were recovered roughly a mile away.

It's unclear whether children were present at one or both locations.

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Roughly two hours after the second set of bodies were discovered, police arrested Zhao Chunli a resident of Half Moon Bay. The 66-year-old suspect was found by a deputy sitting in his car in the parking lot of a nearby sheriff's substation.

He was taken into custody without incident. A weapon was recovered at the scene.

Authorities believe that he acted alone, and was a Chinese farmworker like his alleged victims.

Corpus told reporters Monday that Zhao, 66, used a legally obtained semi-automatic weapon to shoot and kill "individuals that he targeted... What we know is this turned into a workplace violence incident, and he had an opportunity, we believe, to hurt other people, but he targeted individuals that he went after and pursued."

Jail records indicate Zhao faces charges of premeditated murder and first-degree attempted murder, in addition to a firearms enhancement.

Zhao is set to be arraigned on charges related to the shooting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. It's unclear if he has retained an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf. Bail has not yet been set and he has not entered a plea.

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