California reels from back-to-back shootings that killed 18
A deadly rampage by a
67-year-old suspect in Northern California was likely an act of workplace
violence, authorities said on Tuesday, offering fresh details about the second
in back-to-back mass shootings that killed 18 people and horrified the nation.
The two shootings
within three days have left the state of California reeling as investigators
worked to identify the 11 people killed on Saturday at a Los Angeles-area dance
hall and the seven killed on Monday in the seaside town of Half Moon Bay near
trying to determine the motives for both shootings. Officials said preliminary
evidence indicated that the massacre in Half Moon Bay appeared to be a case of
workplace violence and that the gunman had used a legally-owned weapon.
The suspects in both
attacks are men of retirement age, much older than typical perpetrators of
deadly mass shootings that have become routine in the United States.
On Monday, a gunman in
Half Moon Bay opened fire on employees at Mountain Mushroom Farm, where he had
previously worked, and Concord Farms, about a mile away.
The accused gunman,
identified as Chunli Zhao, 67, was taken into custody later after he was found
sitting in his vehicle, parked outside a sheriff's station. Authorities said
they believe he had come to surrender.
He killed seven and
wounded one, and all of his victims were Hispanic and Asian Americans, San
Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus told reporters on Tuesday.
"All of the
evidence we have points to this being the instance of workplace violence,"
The district attorney
was expected to file charges against Zhao on Wednesday morning, ahead of his
scheduled court appearance in Redwood City.
President Joe Biden
said in a statement on Tuesday that he had been briefed on the Half Moon Bay
shooting and had directed his administration to support local authorities.
"Even as we await
further details on these shootings, we know the scourge of gun violence across
America requires stronger action," he said, calling on Congress to
reintroduce a federal assault weapons ban.
News of the latest
massacre surfaced as detectives were still investigating the Saturday night
shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, just east of downtown
Los Angeles, where a gunman killed 11 people and wounded nine.
Authorities said the
suspect, Huu Can Tran, 72, then drove to a second dance hall nearby. The
club's operator wrestled his weapon away, thwarting another mass shooting
Tran, a longtime
patron of the Star Ballroom, fled in a white cargo van. Police cornered him
about 12 hours later in Torrance, south of Los Angeles, and then he fatally
unfolded in the midst of a Chinese
Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, a hub of the
Asian-American community in Southern California, raising initial concerns that
the attack was racially motivated.
Among the 11 victims
were two fishermen from Taiwan, according to the Taiwanese consulate in Los
Angeles, and multiple Chinese citizens, according to the Chinese consulate.
Some were regulars at
the dance studio, according to their family and friends. In a statement, the
family of Valentino Marcos Alvero remembered the Filipino man as a loving
grandfather and "the life of any party."
It ranked as the
deadliest mass shooting ever in Los Angeles County, according to Hilda Solis, a
member of the county Board of Supervisors.
By comparison, the
1984 massacre of 21 people at a McDonald's restaurant in San Diego stands as
the greatest loss of life from a single California shooting.
The two latest
shootings were also notable for the age of the suspects, one in his late 60s,
another in his early 70s.
A database of 185 mass
shootings between 1966 and 2022 maintained by the nonprofit Violence Project
includes just one carried out by someone 70 or older - a retired miner who
killed five people in Kentucky in 1981.
Los Angeles County
Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters on Monday that investigators had collected
42 bullet casings and a large-capacity ammunition magazine from the dance
He said a search of
the suspect's mobile home in a gated senior living community in the town of
Hemet, 80 miles east of Los Angeles, turned up a rifle, electronic devices and
items "that lead us to believe the suspect was manufacturing
homemade" weapons silencers. Police also seized hundreds of rounds of
ammunition from the dwelling and a handgun from the suspect's vehicle.
Monterey Park Police
Chief Scott Wiese said investigators were looking into unconfirmed reports that
the violence may have been sparked by jealousy or relationship issues.
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