Half Moon Bay Suspected Gunman Admits Shooting Co-Workers, Blames Mental Illness


The 66-year-old man suspected of killing seven people earlier this week at two locations in Half Moon Bay, California, admitted to carrying out the massacre in a rare jailhouse interview Thursday night, saying he has endured years of bullying and suffers from a mental illness.

Key Facts

Chunli Zhao, who faces seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, told NBC Bay Area Thursday night he was forced to work long hours at the mushroom farm where he allegedly carried out the shooting, and that his supervisors ignored him when he complained about his work schedule.

Speaking in Mandarin, Zhao said he has a green card and has been living in the U.S. for 11 years, and purchased the handgun he used in the shooting in 2021.

When asked if he regrets killing his co-workers, he said he did, and that he suffers from a mental illness, although he did not name any specific illnesses, adding he “sees things un-clearly” and “was not in his right mind,” according to NBC’s Janelle Wang, who translated the interview.

Surprising Fact

Zhao also told NBC Bay Area he drove to the Half Moon Bay sheriff’s station after the shooting to turn himself in, and waited for two hours before a person he believed was a member of law enforcement spotted his car and started taking pictures of it. Police then removed Zhao from his vehicle and arrested him in the parking lot.

Key Background

The shooting on Monday at a mushroom farm on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay left four people dead and one injured, before Zhao went to a second location, killing three more people—just two days after another deadly mass shooting in California left 11 people dead. In a press conference on Tuesday, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said Zhao, 66, targeted specific co-workers at the farm, where he had lived and worked for the past several years. Local police told CNN they had seen no previous warning signs from Zhao, although court documents from 2013 revealed a former roommate of Zhao’s in San Jose, California, filed a restraining order against him after Zhao attempted to suffocate him and cut him with a knife, the New York Times reported. The murder charges against Zhao could result in life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty—although Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) in 2019 imposed a moratorium on executions.

Further Reading

Exclusive: Suspect Admits to Half Moon Bay Mass Shooting in Jailhouse Interview (NBC Bay Area)

At Least 7 Dead In California’s Second Mass Shooting In 3 Days (Forbes)

Half Moon Bay Suspect Faces Seven Counts Of Murder: Here’s What We Know About The 66-Year-Old Alleged Gunman (Forbes)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianbushard/2023/01/27/alf-moon-bay-suspected-gunman-admits-shooting-co-workers-blames-mental-illness/