The seven farmworkers killed in a workplace mass shooting Monday in Northern California, allegedly by a colleague, were migrants toiling at a mushroom growing operation, all trying to forge better lives for themselves and their families, loved ones and law enforcement said.
The killings at the Mountain Mushroom Farm and the nearby Concord Farms in Half Moon Bay, a small coastal town about 30 miles south of San Francisco, was the second mass casualty shooting in three days in California. That tragedy followed a shooting Saturday evening in the Los Angeles County city of Monterey Park, where 11 people were killed and nine wounded at a dance studio.
All victims of the Half Moon Bay episode — seven men and one woman — were adults of Asian and Hispanic descent, authorities said. They ranged in age from 43 to 74.
The suspected gunman, 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, was a co-worker who was arrested and faces multiple counts of murder, authorities said. A motive in the shooting remains under investigation.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said investigators do not believe it was a hate crime after interviewing the suspect for several hours.
“While I won’t go into the statement, I will say, it has alleviated for us any thought that this was a hate crime,” Wagstaffe said. “It was not a hate crime, this was simply … a workplace dispute.”
At the White House, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, released a statement expressing condolences to the victims’ families.
“Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in the latest tragic shooting in Half Moon Bay, California. For the second time in recent days, California communities are mourning the loss of loved ones in a senseless act of gun violence,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.
Here is a list of six of the seven deceased victims released Wednesday by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department:
• Aixiang Zhang, 74, of San Francisco
• Zhishen Liu, 73, of San Francisco
• Qizhong Cheng, 66, of Half Moon Bay
• Jingzhi Lu, 64, of Half Moon Bay
• Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, of Moss Beach, California
• Yetao Bing, 43, residence unknown