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7 dead in mass shooting in California's Half Moon Bay; suspect in custody

People stroll and bike along the beach in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Memorial Day, 2020. An agricultural area of the town was the scene of a mass shooting on Monday. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
People stroll and bike along the beach in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Memorial Day, 2020. An agricultural area of the town was the scene of a mass shooting on Monday. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Seven people were shot to death Monday and one person was critically injured in California's Half Moon Bay, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, which apprehended a suspect two hours after the shootings.

The victims were found at two separate locations along Highway 92 in Half Moon Bay, which is about 28 miles south of San Francisco near the coast.

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The shooting was reported around 2:20 p.m. local time at Mountain Mushroom Farm on San Mateo Road. More victims were found near a trucking facility about two miles away, according to San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus.

"The Sheriff's Office is responding to a shooting incident with multiple victims in the area of Hwy 92 and the HMB city limits," the Sheriff's Office tweeted Monday afternoon, adding that Hwy 92 had been shut down for the investigation.

The tweet was followed by another an hour later with an update saying the suspect was in custody. "There is no ongoing threat to the community at this time," the Sheriff's Office said.

The suspect has been identified as 67-year-old Chunli Zhao. He was taken into custody after the shootings and was believed to have acted alone, according to Corpus, who said a motive hadn't been determined.

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"This is a devastating tragedy for this community and the families touched by this unspeakable act of violence," Corpus said during a news conference.

A member of the local agricultural community in the area was at the Half Moon Bay sheriff's substation for a news conference when the suspect was apprehended.

"I was surprised to see the suspect here and of course hopeful that he came to turn himself in," Kati McHugh told KGO-TV.

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"He was quiet," McHugh said when asked about the suspect. "He didn't react much when he was taken down and it all happened pretty calmly."

Monday's shooting follows Saturday's mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif., that killed 11 people.

"We are sickened by today's tragedy in Half Moon Bay. The scourge of gun violence has sadly hit home. We have not even had time to grieve for those lost in the terrible shooting in Monterey Park," president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Dave Pine said in a statement.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who visited victims Monday following the mass shooting in Monterey Park, also expressed his shock.

"At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay," Newsom tweeted. "Tragedy upon tragedy."

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