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Half Moon Bay shooting suspect charged with seven counts of murder

Northern California prosecutors on Wednesday filed seven murder charges and one attempted murder charge against the man accused of shooting farm workers Monday in the scenic coastal town of Half Moon Bay. The suspect said he believed he was “disrespected” by the victims.

The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office 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, from Half Moon Bay; Jingzhi Lu, 64, from Half Moon Bay; and Yetao Bing, 43, whose hometown was listed as unknown.

The charges filed by prosecutor Steve Wagstaffe against suspect Chunli Zhao, 66, included the name of the seventh victim, Jose Romero Perez, and an attempted murder charge in connection with the assassination of Pedro Romero Perez.

Zhao made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon in Redwood City.

The shackled defendant dressed in a red prison jumpsuit entered court holding a piece of yellow paper and sometimes used the paper to conceal his face from the cameras.

Chunli Zhao was arrested Monday in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay Sheriff’s Office as a suspect in the mass shooting earlier in the day.Kati McHugh

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 detained without bail and set his arraignment for February 16.

Investigators have characterized the killings 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 law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the investigation to report that Zhao had told investigators he had been “disrespected” by his colleagues in the years leading up to the shooting.

Zhao was arrested about two hours after the shooting while sitting in his car parked outside the sheriff’s substation in Half Moon Bay.

Gemma Di Casimirro and Irene Byon contributed.

nbcnews Gt

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