State Watch

Suspect in Half Moon Bay shooting that killed 7 pleads not guilty

Chunli Zhao appears for a motion hearing at the San Mateo County Hall of Justice in Redwood City, Calif., Friday, Feb. 10, 2023. A San Mateo County judge heard arguments regarding a potential gag order in the criminal case of Zhao, a farmworker accused of killing seven people in back-to-back shootings at two Northern California mushroom farms last month. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group via AP, Pool)

The man accused of killing seven people and injuring another in two back-to-back shootings in California’s Half Moon Bay last month pleaded not guilty to all seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, according to reports.

Chunli Zhao, a 66-year-old farmworker, was arrested and charged in connection with shootings at two different mushroom farms in the coastal city near San Francisco — tragedies that came days after a gunman killed 11 amid Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Bay, Calif. 

Zhao pleaded not guilty and denied related allegations, including the use of a firearm, in San Mateo County Superior Court on Thursday, the Washington Post reported, entering the pleas through a Mandarin translator. 

But Zhao had admitted to the shootings in an interview last month with NBC Bay Area, saying he’d been spurred on by poor treatment from his coworkers and supervisor. 

The New York Times reports that Zhao waived his right to have a preliminary hearing and is set to reappear before the San Mateo Superior Court in May of this year.

Tags California Half Moon Bay Half Moon Bay shooting

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