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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Charlie Jones

Half Moon Bay gunman who killed 7 'snapped after being made to pay $100 repair bill'

The gunman charged with fatally shooting seven people in Half Moon Bay, California, snapped after being made to pay a $100 repair bill for forklift truck damaged at work, prosecutors say.

Chunli Zhao, 66, who has been charged with the shootings at two mushroom farms, told investigators a co-worker was actually to blame for the crash between his forklift and the co-worker’s bulldozer.

He is alleged to have shot and killed four workers and wounded a fifth at California Terra Garden, near Half Moon Bay. Authorities claim he then went to nearby Concord Farms, where he had worked previously, and fatally shot three former colleagues.

He told investigators he was pushed to carry out the horrific mass shooting after his boss insisted he pay $100 to repair the forklift damaged at work.

Officials walk towards the crime scene at Mountain Mushroom Farm (Aaron Kehoe/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe confirmed the suspect was enraged by the bill.

Zhao told KNTV-TV in a courthouse interview Thursday that he committed the shooting but said he was bullied and worked long hours on the farms with his complaints being ignored.

On Monday Zhao says he complained to his supervisor about the bill, but the supervisor insisted he needed to pay. Zhao then allegedly shot the supervisor and the co-worker.

Zhao told the TV station from a county jail in Redwood City that he has been in the U.S. for 11 years and has a green card. He said he has a 40-year-old daughter in China and lived with his wife in Half Moon Bay.

Chunli Zhao, 67, was arrested after driving himself to a police station (San Mateo Sheriff's Office/AFP v)

The seven victims have been named as Zhishen Liu, 73, of San Francisco; Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, of Moss Beach, California; 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 unknown; and Jose Romero Perez, whose brother was also shot but survived.

San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe could not go into details of the massacre or the suspects remarks to the TV channel but said they were “consistent with what he told law enforcement.”

The alleged gunman claimed in a short interview he had been suffering from “some sort of mental illness” and was “not in his right mind” at the time of the incident.

He had planned to turn himself in to police after driving to San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and was composing a note in his car before being taken into custody.

Janelle Wang of NBC Bay Area said he also told of his regret after the shocking incident.

State officials opened investigations into workplace practices at the two sites of Monday’s fatal shootings.

They shed light on the lives and work of California’s farmworkers, who often face dangerous conditions.

San Mateo County sheriff deputies walk through one of the farms where the mass shooting occurred (Getty Images)

Governor Gavin Newsom visited the community and spoke with the victims’ families about the shooting and their workplace.

He said some were “living in shipping containers” and working for $9 (£7.46) an hour below the minimum wage of $15.50 (£12.85).

At a news conference, he said: “No healthcare, no support, no services, but [they’re] taking care of our health, providing a service to us each and every day."

A spokesperson for Newsom called the workers’ conditions “simply deplorable” in a statement.

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