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There's been another shooting massacre in California. This one in Half Moon Bay

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're waking to news of another mass shooting in California.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Yeah. Days after the attack on a dance hall, a different gunman opened fire in different locations. He was in Half Moon Bay, a coastal community just south of San Francisco. He opened fire at a plant nursery and at a mushroom farm and killed seven people.

INSKEEP: NPR's Eric Westervelt is covering this story. Eric, who did this?

ERIC WESTERVELT, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve. The San Mateo County sheriff says the gunman is 67-year-old named Chunli Zhao. He's a local resident. The killings spanned two separate farm locations near each other. He allegedly killed four and gravely wounded a fifth at a plant nursery complex near a small shopping area right off the highway. He then killed three others at another location on a farm about two miles down the road. It's believed he worked at the nursery where he opened fire. Police found Zhao in his car in the parking lot of a sheriff's substation. So he basically went on a killing spree and then drove to a police station and gave himself in. He was taken into custody without incident. Police found a semiautomatic handgun in his car. A local official said the gunman was a disgruntled worker at one of the farms. But Sheriff Christina Corpus says there's no known motive at this time.

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CHRISTINA CORPUS: This kind of shooting is horrific. It's a tragedy that we hear about far too often. But today, it's hit home here in San Mateo County.

INSKEEP: Eric, you said a semiautomatic pistol. Isn't that the same type of weapon that was described in the Monterey Park shooting a few days ago?

WESTERVELT: Well, Steve, we don't know yet if it was the exact same weapon. But it certainly is a similar type of a high-powered, semiautomatic weapon.

INSKEEP: Who were the victims?

WESTERVELT: The seven killed are all believed to be farm workers at this mushroom farm, a nursery greenhouse complex. A local council member says all were Chinese farm workers. The sheriff wouldn't comment on that. Some of the workers live there at the farm, Steve. So it's believed children witnessed the killings and almost certainly heard the shootings. It's a small, close-knit, agricultural community. Here's Joaquin Jimenez, the vice mayor of Half Moon Bay.

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JOAQUIN JIMENEZ: We have been receiving phone calls, text messages from family members wanting to know information, either family members - you know, their relatives are OK. We hope they are.

INSKEEP: Eric, I began reading a news story about one of California's mass killings and mistakenly thought for a moment it was about the other California mass killing. How are people responding to all this violence in so few days?

WESTERVELT: Well, it's interesting. California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted something similar, that he was at the hospital meeting with victims of the Southern California mass shooting when he got word and was briefed about this one to the north. He described it as, quote, "a tragedy upon tragedy." And we heard from David Pine - he's the head of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors - who said, you know, he's sickened by all this, that Californians hadn't been able to even start to grieve those killed in the south when they were hit with another shooting spree.

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DAVE PINE: Our hearts are broken. We are deeply grateful for law enforcement for their work this evening. But in the end, there are simply too many guns in this country. And there has to be a change. This is not an acceptable way for modern society to live and conduct its affairs.

WESTERVELT: And, Steve, we should note California has some of the strictest gun laws on the books in the nation. But there are all kinds of loopholes. There are some enforcement problems and challenges. There are illegal workarounds, including going to a gun show in a neighboring state like Nevada to try to skirt California's registration or background check laws. So bottom line, the state's gun laws have not stopped these mass killings.

INSKEEP: NPR's Eric Westervelt. Thanks so much.

WESTERVELT: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.

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