Dispute over $140 repair bill may have led to California shootings that left 7 dead

Dispute over 0 repair bill may have led to California shootings that left 7 dead

Chunli Zhao, the farm worker facing seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with the attack, “had a dispute with the first victim over a ($140) bill” for the cost of the recovering a piece of farm equipment involved in an accident at California Terra Garden, the mushroom farm where Zhao worked, lived and allegedly killed his first four victims, Steve Wagstaffe told station KTVU.

Chunli Zhao will appear in San Mateo Criminal Court in Redwood City, California on January 25. (Getty)

“We don’t feel any of the actions are justified,” Wagstaffe said. “But we have a lot to learn.”

Wagstaffe’s comments came shortly after Zhao, 66, reportedly admitted in an interview with NBC Bay Area News that he carried out the shooting, which stunned the coastal city of Half Moon Bay amid a spate of mass shootings in California that claimed 19 lives in about 44 hours. .

CNN could not independently confirm what Zhao said in the interview and reached out to his lawyers for comment.

Police investigate the scene of a mass shooting along Cabrillo Highway in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group via AP) (AP)

Statements the suspect made to law enforcement “were consistent with what he told the reporters,” Wagstaffe told CNN Monday, referring to the NBC Bay Area News interview.

“But I’m not declaring it a fact that (the $140 bill dispute) caused the shooting,” he said. “Much more investigation to do. But that’s definitely what Zhao says.”

Last Monday, officers responded to the mushroom farm to find four people dead and one wounded, before finding three more dead at a separate site about 2 miles away, officials said.

Signs in English, Chinese and Spanish offer condolences at a growing memorial for victims of Monday’s mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, California. Several memorials were left in the town and on the sites where the farm workers were killed. (AP)

Zhao, a Chinese national, was an “associate or former associate” of the victims, and he allegedly targeted specific people, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus told CNN, describing the attack as a ” workplace violence incident”.

In a 15-minute interview conducted in Mandarin, Zhao told NBC Bay Area’s Janelle Wang that he was not in his right mind and did not know “what happened mentally” when the shootings occurred, Wang said. The suspect expressed remorse and said he regretted the attacks and told the reporter he believed he had some sort of mental illness that he had struggled with for some time.

In a statement last week, a spokesperson for California Terra Garden said that all employees “had background checks, and there was nothing to indicate that such a thing was even a possibility,” adding that the company knew nothing about Zhao’s motive. not.

The shooting claimed the lives of Yetao Bing, 43; Qizhong Cheng, 66; Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50; Aixiang Zhang, 74; Jingzhi Lu, 64; and Zhishen Liu, 73; per the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office. The seventh victim has been tentatively identified, but the office is withholding the name pending positive identification and next of kin notification.

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Among the dead were five Chinese nationals, according to China’s consulate in San Francisco.

Zhao’s court case is scheduled for February 16, when he is expected to enter a plea.

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