Victim of Half Moon Bay mass shooting sent to Stanford Medical Center

Jan. 23, 2023, 10:45 p.m.

This article contains graphic descriptions of violence and a reference to suicide.

A victim of the Half Moon Bay shootings arrived at the Stanford Medical Center in critical condition at 5:30 p.m. Monday, according to a Stanford Health Care spokesperson. The suspect of the shootings, which left seven others dead, is in custody and will be arraigned in court Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

As of Tuesday morning, the victim who was treated at Stanford is out of surgery and stable. 

Authorities said two shootings occurred minutes apart at farms roughly 20 miles from campus. Officials also believe that the shooting was an instance of workplace violence, not a hate crime. The suspect was employed at Mountain Mushroom Farm, where the first shooting took place.  

As officers arrived at the first scene at approximately 2:20 p.m., they discovered five bodies riddled with bullet wounds. Four of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while one was taken for treatment with life-threatening injuries at Stanford. Officers proceeded to the second scene, where they found three more dead, according to Sheriff Christina Corpus at an evening press conference held by the San Mateo County police department.

Several children witnessed the attack, according to local authorities. In 2022, gun violence became the most likely cause of the death for American children for the first time on record, and studies have suggested a broad psychological impact on a generation caught in the grip of never ending mass shootings.

Just a half-hour before the surviving victim arrived at the hospital, Stanford sent a “message of care and concern” about the mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif. on Saturday. The Monterey Park attacker, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gun wound, also used a semiautomatic weapon in his rampage, which left 11 dead and 9 injured.

At the Emergency Department of the Stanford Medical Center, none of the approximately a dozen people at the entrance knew any details about the shooting. The hospital was sparsely populated by those visiting family members and loved ones, few of whom had checked their phones since the shooting had occurred. 

One cafeteria worker said that the news of the victim’s transport to the hospital had spread rapidly around the building, though he did not know the details of the man’s condition.

He said a fellow staff member had come up to him around 6 p.m. and asked “did you hear about the mushroom guy?” an apparent reference to the location of shootings.

At the time of publication, none of the victims, including the victim in treatment at Stanford Medical Center, had been officially identified. Names of victims are still being withheld, though officials have confirmed that seven of the victims were male and one was female.

According to Half Moon Bay council member Debbie Ruddock, the victims are believed to be Chinese farm workers. The Sheriff’s office confirmed Tuesday morning that the victims were of Asian and Hispanic descent. About half a dozen of the two dozen workers at Mountain Mushroom farm are Chinese, the rest are Latino migrant workers, according to a witness.

Chunli Zhao, 67, is currently in custody for the shootings after he turned himself in to the San Mateo County Sheriff at a site designated for ad hoc media coordination. The F.B.I. is working with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s department to investigate the Half Moon Bay shooting. A man in a baseball cap was seen being led away in handcuffs at around 4:40 p.m., two hours after the police initially responded to the shootings and almost an hour before the surviving victim arrived at the Medical Center. Zhao was a worker at one of the sites of the shooting, an agricultural nursery, according to Sheriff Corpus.

Police confirmed that a semiautomatic rifle was the only weapon used in the attack. As of Tuesday morning, police have confirmed that the weapon was obtained legally.

Questions about the legality of semiautomatic weapons, like those used in the L.A. and Half Moon Bay attacks as well as the Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York shootings last year, have divided Washington. An Illinois judge blocked a ban of semiautomatic weapons earlier this month.

Meanwhile, California representatives, including those who represent Half Moon Bay, took to social media to express their grief about the mass shooting. 

“Two hours ago I joined my colleagues on the Capitol steps for a vigil for the victims of the shooting in Monterey Park,” wrote California State Assemblymember Marc Berman on Twitter. “Before we’ve even had a chance to mourn them, there is yet another mass shooting — this time in Half Moon Bay. In my district.”

Governor Gavin Newsom also took to Twitter to write that he was informed of the Half Moon Bay shooting as he was meeting with victims of the Monterey Park shooting. “Tragedy upon tragedy,” Newsom wrote.

Half Moon Bay council member Joaquin Jimenez also expressed his grief in today’s press conference. “As you know, at the beginning of the year, the farmworker community was affected [by the floods]. And now this,” Jimenez said.

This story has been updated to include additional information about the victims and the suspect.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Theo Baker is the Vol. 263 Spotlight Investigations Editor. A frosh from Washington, D.C., he is the youngest ever recipient of a George Polk Award. Contact [email protected] for encrypted email. Find him on Twitter @tab_delete.Carolyn Stein serves as the Magazine Editor for Vol. 263. She is double majoring in communications and East Asian studies. Her favorite activity is going on unnecessarily long walks. Contact her at news 'at'

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