Half Moon Bay shooting suspect to face 7 murder charges

SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. — The man accused of killing seven people and injuring one other at a pair of mushroom farms in Northern California on Monday will face several charges, including seven counts of murder, according to authorities.

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San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told The Associated Press and The Mercury News that prosecutors will also file an attempted murder charge against Chunli Zhao, 66, ahead of a court appearance on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier, investigators arrested Zhao on suspicion of opening fire at the former Mountain Mushroom Farm and Concord Farms.

Update 4:10 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Officials on Wednesday released the names of six of the people killed in Monday’s shootings in Half Moon Bay, KRON-TV reported.

A seventh person killed was not identified by name because the coroner had yet to reach the person’s family, according to the news station.

The victims were identified as:

  • Yetao Bing, 43, residence unknown
  • Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, of Moss Beach
  • Jingzhi Lu, 64, of Half Moon Bay
  • Qizhong Cheng, 66, of Half Moon Bay
  • Zhishen Liu, 73, of San Francisco
  • Aixiang Zhang, 74, of San Francisco

Earlier Wednesday, deputies said the victims were all either coworkers or former coworkers of Zhao’s.

Original report: San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said that Zhao and the victims might have worked together.

“All of the evidence we have points to this being the instance of workplace violence,” she said.

Zhao and his wife lived at the former Mountain Mushroom Farm, which was taken over last year by California Terra Garden, the AP and the Mercury News reported. He had worked as a forklift driver at the farm for the last several years, according to KGO-TV.

Authorities did not immediately identify the victims of Monday’s shootings by name, though family members told the AP that Marciano Martinez Jimenez, a delivery person and manager at one of the farms, was among the people killed. The 50-year-old had lived in the Mexican state of Oaxaca before moving to the U.S. nearly three decades ago, the AP reported.

“He was a good person,” the victim’s brother, Servando Martinez Jimenez, told the AP. “He was polite and friendly with everyone. He never had any problems with anyone. I don’t understand why all this happened.”

The incident was not Zhao’s first reported clash with coworkers. Court records obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle showed that Zhao’s former roommate and coworker at a restaurant in San Jose got a restraining order against him in 2013 after the roommate said that Zhao tried to suffocate and threatened to kill him.

A judge allowed the restraining order to expire in July 2013, according to the Chronicle.

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