Shooter faces 7 murder charges in California

HALF MOON BAY— A farm worker accused of killing seven people in consecutive shootings at two Northern California mushroom farms was charged Wednesday with seven charges of homicide and one for attempted murder.

Chunli Zhao, 66 years old, is the author of the shooting. It is not immediately clear if he has a lawyer speaking on his behalf.

Meanwhile, the San Mateo County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified six of the people who died in the shootings, which the local police department has called “workplace violence,” without further elaborating the motive. It was the third shooting massacre in California in eight days.

Authorities believe Zhao acted alone Monday when he entered the mushroom farm where he worked in Half Moon Bay, shooting dead four people and critically wounding a fifth. Later, he drove to a nearby farm where he had worked and killed three other people, said Eamonn Allen, a spokesman for the police department.

The charges include aggravating circumstances that could result in capital punishment or life in prison without parole, although California Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a moratorium on executions. Among the aggravating factors are that Zhao used a firearm, caused serious bodily injury, killed multiple people, and had a prior felony conviction. No further details about the earlier offense were released.

The coroner’s office identified the victims as Zhishen Liu, 73; Marciano Martínez Jiménez, 50 years old; Aixiang Zhang, 74; Qizhong Cheng, 66; Jingzhi Lu, 64, and Yetao Bing, 43. The name of the seventh victim has not been released while authorities work to notify her relatives.

Authorities have said some of the dead were migrant workers.

Servando Martínez Jiménez said that his brother Marciano Martínez Jiménez was a delivery man and manager of one of the farms. He never mentioned Zhao or commented on having problems with other employees.

“He was a good person,” she commented on her brother. “He was nice to everyone, friendly. He never had a problem with anyone. I don’t understand why he went through all this.

Marciano Martínez Jiménez was from the Mexican state of Oaxaca and had lived in the United States for 28 years. Servando Martínez Jiménez said that he is working with the Mexican consulate so that the body of his brother returns home.