Suspect in Half Moon Bay farm mass shooting faces 7 counts of murder

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The suspect in the Half Moon Bay farm mass shooting faces seven counts of murder and one of attempted murder. 

Chunli Zhao, 66, was set to make his first court appearance on Wednesday but it was postponed until February 16. According to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, the suspect’s two attorneys did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment. 

Wagstaffe declined to disclose any additional details on Zhao’s motive in the killing of his current and former coworkers. 

Authorities believe Zhao acted alone on Monday when he entered a mushroom farm where he worked in Half Moon Bay and shot and killed four people. He also severely injured a fifth person. 

Zhao then drove to a nearby farm where he previously worked and killed three more people. 

The charges include additional allegations that could result in the death penalty or life in prison without parole, though Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a moratorium on executions. Among those allegations are that Zhao used a gun, caused great bodily injury and killed multiple people.

The coroner’s office named six of the victims: Zhishen Liu, 73, of San Francisco; Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, of Moss Beach, California; Aixiang Zhang, 74, of San Francisco; Qizhong Cheng, 66, of Half Moon Bay; Jingzhi Lu, 64, of Half Moon Bay; and Yetao Bing, 43, whose hometown was unknown. The charging documents identify Jose Romero Perez as the other person killed and Pedro Romero Perez as the eighth victim, who survived the shooting.

Officials have said some of the people killed were migrant workers. Some people were shot in trailers on the property, Wagstaffe said.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.