Man Pleads Not Guilty to Murder Charges in Half Moon Bay Mass Shooting

REDWOOD CITY — Chunli Zhao, the 67-year-old man accused of carrying out the largest mass shooting in San Mateo County’s history, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to multiple murder charges related to the tragic incident that took place at two Half Moon Bay mushroom farms last year. Zhao, who had previously pleaded not guilty to the original charges, now faces an indictment that includes seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

During the brief hearing presided over by Judge Elizabeth Lee, Zhao remained mostly silent, wearing a red jail outfit with an orange long-sleeved undershirt. He stood with his head bowed and arms folded, wearing a blue face mask and black headphones through which a Mandarin interpreter translated the court proceedings. When asked if he understood and agreed with his attorney’s decision to waive his right to a speedy trial, Zhao responded with a simple “yes” in Mandarin.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe expressed the importance of moving the case forward for the sake of the victims’ families, as the indictment has eliminated the need for a preliminary hearing. The trial date has yet to be set. Zhao has been in custody since surrendering to authorities shortly after the mass shooting and remains held without bail at the San Mateo County jail.

Prosecutors allege that Zhao, who worked as a forklift driver at California Terra Garden, a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay, killed four workers and severely wounded another due to a workplace grudge. The violence erupted after Zhao confronted a supervisor and a co-worker, blaming them for a collision between his forklift and a bulldozer. He allegedly shot the supervisor, the co-worker, the co-worker’s wife, and two others at the farm. Zhao then continued his shooting spree at Concord Farms, another mushroom farm, where he allegedly killed a former assistant manager and another couple.

The mass shooting shed light on the dire living conditions faced by migrant workers residing on farms across San Mateo County. Officials described the dwellings at California Terra Garden as “deplorable,” with families living in shacks lacking basic amenities such as running water and kitchens. A subsequent investigation by the Bay Area News Group revealed a pattern of neglect towards the struggling workforce, including both the shooter and his victims.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

3 Responses

  1. This is absolutely outrageous! How can Chunli Zhao, the man responsible for the largest mass shooting in San Mateo County’s history, have the audacity to plead not guilty? It is clear as day that he carried out this horrific act, taking innocent lives and causing unimaginable pain to the victims’ families and the entire community.

    The fact that this tragedy occurred at two Half Moon Bay mushroom farms, places where people should feel safe and secure while working, makes it even more devastating. These hard

  2. This is such a tragic incident. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. It’s important to raise awareness about such events to ensure justice is served. I would be more than willing to share this post on my social media platforms or website to help promote it and spread the word. Let’s work together to bring attention to this case and support the affected community.

  3. Wow, this is a very informative post. The details provided about Chunli Zhao’s plea and the tragic incident are clear and concise. However, it would be helpful to include more background information about the incident and the victims involved. Overall, great job on reporting this important news.

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