7 killed in shooting in Half Moon Bay, California

By Amir Vera, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales, Elise Hammond and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 7:27 p.m. ET, January 25, 2023
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8:29 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Gov. Newsom says GOP obstruction is preventing federal action against gun violence  

From CNN’s Veronica Miracle and Augie Martin 

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks Tuesday, January 24, at the I.D.E.S. Portuguese Hall in Half Moon Bay, California. (
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks Tuesday, January 24, at the I.D.E.S. Portuguese Hall in Half Moon Bay, California. ( (Aaron Kehoe/AP)

“Republican obstruction” on the federal level is preventing any form of gun control from becoming law, California Gov. Gavin Newsom told CNN, saying we are “only good as our weakest link.” 

“We got to solve for these – not just the incidents, we’ve got to solve for these patterns, and it requires Congress to take bold leadership. But the Republican Party has been obstructing it, and the Republican leader, who happens to be in our own backyard, hasn’t said a damn word,” Newsom said, referring to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who represents the 20th Congressional District in California.

Newsom, a Democrat, said that while people are dying from shootings, Republicans are working on culture war items like content in advanced placement courses or whether to use the word “Latinx.”  

“We’ve chosen this, this is our decision, to live in these conditions,” he said, adding that Republicans do this under the guise of freedom. 

“Freedom? Freedom from what? To have your kid only do six or seven drills to hide under the desk each and every year as opposed to two or three?,” Newsom said.  
"People can’t even be free to dance safely during a Lunar New Year event without the fear of being shot," he said. “What kind of freedom is that?”
8:01 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Half Moon Bay farmworkers “were killed with purpose, with intent, execution-style," lawmaker says

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Rep. Anna Eshoo
Rep. Anna Eshoo (Pool)

The farm workers shot in Half Moon Bay “were killed with purpose, with intent, execution-style,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo in a news conference on Tuesday. 

Eshoo insisted that the issue of gun violence in the US remains “unfinished business.”

"Until it is our finished business, there will be pain in many communities,” she added.
7:30 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Chinese immigrants caught in gunfire did not know how to comprehend the mass shooting, governor says

California Gov. Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Pool)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom described mass shootings as a phenomenon that is so inherently American that some of the Chinese immigrants he met with in the wake of the massacre in Half Moon Bay didn't know how to comprehend what happened.

The governor said their translator didn’t know how to accurately convey what many of the people who were caught in the shooting were witnessing and thinking.

"Their friends got shot, killed," he said at a news conference Tuesday. "They went over, people had been shot, and they thought they were acting. They'd never heard a sound like that, they'd never seen a scene like that, they didn't even know how to comprehend a gunshot wound. That's not something they ever experienced, let alone comprehend that.
"Only in America do we see this kind of carnage, this kind of chaos, this kind of destruction of communities and lives and confidence and sense of safety and belonging," Newsom said.

The governor thanked first responders and local officials for their swift actions during and in the shooting's aftermath.

He also touted the state's strict gun laws, saying, "gun safety works. We will not back away from that resolve."

7:27 p.m. ET, January 25, 2023

California lawmakers vow to reduce gun violence following Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park shootings

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Three of California’s State Assembly members who represent San Mateo County said they would keep pushing for laws that will reduce gun violence incidents like those that happened in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park over the past few days.

“Unfortunately, it is still way too easy for any individual to obtain a legal or an illegal firearm in this state. That’s just a fact,” said California State Assembly member Phil Ting.

The Half Moon Bay community’s sense of peace “was destroyed by senseless death,” Assemblymember Marc Berman said, noting that there are workplace disagreements and relationship disagreements happen all over the world.

“But it’s only in the United States where far too often those disagreements end in mass shootings,” he said, promising that the state will do everything possible to further reduce such incidents.

Some context: California already has the strongest gun laws in the country, according to the advocacy groups Everytown for Gun Safety and The Giffords Law Center.

The semi-automatic handgun believed to have been used by the Half Moon Bay suspect was legally purchased and owned, authorities said. The origin of the weapons used by the suspect in Monterey Park is being investigated by authorities.

6:50 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Suspect in Half Moon Bay shooting was previously accused of trying to suffocate former coworker 

From CNN’s Casey Tolan and Curt Devine

Nearly a decade before he allegedly went on a killing spree at two Northern California mushroom farms, the suspected gunman was accused of trying to suffocate and threatening to murder a former coworker at another job.

Police say Chunli Zhao fatally shot seven people, including some of his fellow employees, at two mushroom farms on Monday. But it wasn’t the first time he was accused of violence against someone he worked with, court records obtained by CNN show. 

Zhao was subject to a temporary restraining order after a former coworker and roommate accused him of attacking and threatening him in 2013. 

Yingjiu Wang, who worked with Zhao at a restaurant and lived with him in a San Jose apartment, wrote in a court declaration that Zhao’s violent behavior started after Zhao quit his job at their shared workplace in March 2013. 

Early in the morning two days later, Zhao came into Wang’s room and asked for his salary. When Wang told him to pick it up at the restaurant, Zhao said he would kill Wang, and then “took a pillow and started to cover my face and suffocate me,” Wang wrote.

While he couldn't breathe, Wang wrote, “I used all my might within the few seconds to push him away with my blanket."

He said that he called for help and another roommate came to the door, but that Zhao had locked it. The two men ended up wrestling on Wang’s bed before Zhao calmed down, according to Wang.

Two days later, he wrote, Zhao threatened him again, saying that “he can use a knife to cut my head if he can’t come back to work.” Wang wrote that he had no control over Zhao’s work status at the restaurant. 

A judge issued a temporary restraining order against Zhao, which prevented him from getting too close to Wang and also banned him from owning or buying a gun, according to the court paperwork. The restraining order expired in July 2013.  

The incident was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

An attorney for Zhao in the 2013 complaint did not respond to requests for comment. Wang could not be reached for comment. 

6:42 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

FBI offering investigative support and help for victims after Half Moon Bay shooting

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

The FBI sent in technical and forensic support to assist the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office to assist in their investigation of the mass shooting.

“We are now transitioning to providing victim services, and are in the process of identifying resources to help victims of this mass casualty event,” said Robert Tripp, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Francisco field office.

Tripp was speaking at a news conference Tuesday in Half Moon Bay.

6:30 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Sheriff: 5 men and 2 women killed by gunman in Half Moon Bay mass shooting

San Mateo Sheriff Christina Corpus
San Mateo Sheriff Christina Corpus (CNN)

San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus clarified that five men and two women were killed by the gunman in Half Moon Bay shootings.

One man who was also shot is in stable condition in hospital, she said during a news conference Tuesday.

Earlier, officials had reported the victims comprised seven men and a woman, one of whom was hospitalized.

"What happened yesterday in this community is devastating," Corpus said, adding that the epidemic of gun violence needs to end.

Earlier, the sheriff's office noted that the 66-year-old suspect was an employee at the mushroom farm where one of the incidents occurred, and evidence points to it being an instance of workplace violence. The victims were of Asian and Hispanic descent and possible coworkers, officials said.

6:20 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

NOW: Gov. Newsom and San Mateo sheriff's department hold news conference on Half Moon Bay mass shooting

The San Mateo County sheriff's department and California Gov. Gavin Newsom are holding a news conference on the Half Moon Bay mass shooting.

5:04 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Suspect in Half Moon Bay mass shooting lived at one of the locations where people were killed, company says

From CNN’s Casey Tolan

The gunman in a shooting that left a total of seven people dead over two locations in Half Moon Bay, California, lived at the property where four of the victims were killed, according to a company spokesperson.

The site, formerly known as Mountain Mushroom Farm, was acquired by a company called California Terra Garden in March 2022, spokesperson David Oates, told CNN.

There are three mobile homes and six trailers for employees on the property, and the suspected gunman, Chunli Zhao, lived there since at least then, the spokesperson said.

Zhao started working at the farm prior to Terra Garden acquiring it, and was one of about 35 employees, according to Oates.  

“Everyone had background checks, and there was nothing to indicate anything like this was even a possibility,” he said. 

The farm grows mushrooms and “other food-grade herbs like basil, oregano, those kind of things… predominantly mushrooms sold on the retail and wholesale side,” Oates said.  

The owners of the farm are bringing in grief counselors for all the employees, Oates said. “Their goal right now is to try to bring everybody together to start a long healing process. They look at team members more like family,” he said.