Half Moon Bay shooting started over $100 equipment bill, prosecutor says

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — A gunman opened fire at a Northern California mushroom farm last week in a dispute over a $100 bill for a forklift that was damaged at work, according to multiple reports.

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Deputies arrested Chunli Zhao, 66, on seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder following shootings on Jan. 23 at California Terra Garden and Concord Farms. San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus earlier said that investigators believed the shootings were an “instance of workplace violence.”

On Thursday, KNTV reported that about half an hour before the shootings, Zhao complained to a supervisor about having to pay $100 after a farm equipment crash that he blamed on a coworker. The supervisor told Zhao that he would still have to pay the bill, the news station reported. San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe confirmed to the Bay Area News Group that the shooting stemmed from the bill dispute.

David Oates, a spokesperson for California Terra Garden, told the Bay Area News Group that the company might charge for damages on a “case-by-case” basis, generally in “an extreme circumstance where somebody knowingly, purposefully damaged something.” He declined to speak specifically about Zhao’s case.

According to KNTV, Zhao shot his coworker and the supervisor before targeting his coworker’s wife and two others at California Terra Garden. He then drove to nearby Concord Farms, where he worked five years ago, and shot the farm’s assistant manager and a couple that he had previously worked with, the news station reported.

Zhao admitted to the shootings in an interview last week with KNTV. Speaking in Mandarin, he told the news station that his coworkers often bullied him and that his complaints were ignored. He added that he has been in the U.S. for 11 years and has a green card.

Authorities have identified six of the shooting victims as 43-year-old Yetao Bing; 50-year-old Marciano Martinez Jimenez, of Moss Beach; 64-year-old Jingzhi Lu, of Half Moon Bay; 66-year-old Qizhong Cheng, of Half Moon Bay; 73-year-old Zhishen Liu, of San Francisco; and 74-year-old Aixiang Zhang, of San Francisco. The seventh person shot and killed was identified in charge documents as Jose Romero Perez, The Associated Press reported.

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