The San Mateo County District Attorney has charged the suspected shooterat two mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay, California, with seven murders. Chunli Zhao made his first appearance in court on Wednesday, where he held up a piece of paper to shield his face from the cameras.
The 66-year-old, who had two court-appointed attorneys and an interpreter, did not enter a plea. Zhao is being held without bail and his arraignment is scheduled for February 16.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told reporters outside the courtroom that Zhao had spoken with detectives after his arrest, adding that they “do have an idea of motive at this point based on what he told us.” “.
Wagstaffe also said that police found a note in Zhao’s car and that the gun used in the shootings was a Ruger.
San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus Zhao saidon Monday when she says he went into the Mountain Mushroom Farm and shot and killed four people and wounded a fifth.
Police then discovered three more dead victims in nearby Concord Farms.
Zhao was taken into custody without incident after being located in his vehicle in the parking lot of a sheriff’s substation and a semi-automatic handgun was found in his vehicle, Corpus said. Investigators believe the suspect was there to turn himself in, but they hadn’t confirmed that yet, Corpus said.
On Wednesday, the San Mateo County coroner’s office identified six of the seven victims of the shooting: Zhishen Liu, 73, Qizhong Cheng, 66, Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, Yetao Bing, 43, Aixiang Zhang, 74 and Jingzhi Lum, 64.
The seventh victim has been “preliminarily identified” but their names are withheld pending “positive identification” and notification to next of kin, the coroner said.
Officials have said some of the dead were migrant workers.
Servando Martinez Jimenezthat his brother, Marciano Martinez Jimenez, was a delivery driver and manager on one of the farms. He said his brother never talked about Zhao or anything about problems with other workers.
“He was a good person. He was polite and kind to everyone. He never had any problems with anyone. I don’t understand why all this happened,” Servando Martinez Jimenez said of his brother in Spanish.
Marciano Martinez Jimenez lived in the US for 28 years after arriving from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, his brother said, adding that he is working with the Mexican consulate to get his brother’s body home.
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