Northern California prosecutors on Wednesday filed seven murder charges and one attempted murder charge against the man accused of gunning down farm workers Monday in the quaint oceanside town of Half Moon Bay. The suspect said he believed he had been “disrespected” by the victims.
The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office has named six of the seven victims: Zhishen Liu, 73, of San Francisco; Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, of Moss Beach; Aixiang Zhang, 74, of San Francisco; Qizhong Cheng, 66, of Half Moon Bay; Jingzhi Lu, 64, of Half Moon Bay; and Yetao Bing, 43, whose hometown was listed as unknown.
The charges filed by DA Steve Wagstaffe against suspect Chunli Zhao, 66, did include the name of the seventh victim, Jose Romero Perez, and one charge of attempted murder in connection to the shooting of Pedro Romero Perez.
Zhao made his initial court appearance on Wednesday afternoon in Redwood City.
The shackled defendant in a red jail jumpsuit walked into court holding a yellow piece of paper and at times used that paper to conceal his face from cameras.
Zhao, communicating through a Mandarin interpreter, confirmed his name and San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Susan Jakubowski appointed attorney Jonathan D. McDougall to represent him.
Judge Jakubowski ordered Zhao held without bail and set his arraignment for Feb. 16.
Investigators have labeled the slayings as acts of “workplace violence,” with Zhao having worked with some of the victims.
Zhao worked at Mountain Mushroom Farm, one of two agricultural businesses where workers were killed on Monday afternoon, authorities said.
NBC Bay Area cited police sources with direct knowledge of the investigation to report that Zhao had told investigators that he had been “disrespected” by co-workers in the years leading up to the shootings.
Zhao was arrested about two hours after the shooting as he sat in his parked car outside the sheriff’s substation in Half Moon Bay.
Gemma DiCasimirro and Irene Byon contributed.
AUTHOR : David K. Li and Gemma DiCasimirro and Irene Byon