SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – Governor Gavin Newsom spoke with reporters in Half Moon Bay on Tuesday, just a day after a shooting claimed the lives of seven people and injured another.
The shooting took place at two separate mushroom farms Monday afternoon. The suspect, 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, was arrested in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay sheriff’s substation after arriving at the facility of his own accord.
It is possible that Zhao was arriving at the substation to turn himself in.
“We can assume that’s what his motive was to come here, but still haven’t confirmed that,” San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus told KCBS Radio.
A motive for the shooting is still not clear, but Corpus did share that Zhao worked with the victims and called the slaying “workplace violence.”
Corpus opened Tuesday afternoon’s press conference, thanking state and local officials and leadership for their support following the shooting.
“What happened yesterday in this community is devastating,” Corpus said, adding that while many of the workers in the community came to the city to provide for their families, “yesterday they lost members of their families.”
Corpus shared that there were not any updates on the shooting, other than five of the victims were male and two female.
Newsom was the last to speak and shared during the press conference that he was still processing everything in real-time and that he didn’t expect himself to be in Half Moon Bay after leaving the area just last week.
Newsom talked about the fear that communities in California have faced and his interactions with those who have faced the aftermath of these mass shootings. He shared that victims, families, workers, children, and community members all struggle following mass shootings.
The governor then read out several cities like Boulder, Sandy Hook, and Parkland, all where mass shootings have happened, saying that he now has to write in “Monterey Park” and “Half Moon Bay” to the list of tragedies.
“This happened on our watch. Society becomes how we behave,” Newsom said. “We’ve allowed this to happen. It doesn’t have to be this way. It hasn’t always been this way.”
He continued touching on the fears he had after Saturday's shooting that another could pop up after seeing what had happened.
“I feared two days ago that Monterey Park would give way to other headlines,” Newsom said, adding, “little did I know that I’d be up here.”
Newsom called attention to the high-capacity magazines asking “how the hell” they could be allowed on the street when he says gun safety has been proven to stop gun violence.
“Gun Safety saves lives,” Newsom said, adding that the modern gun safety movement started with Republican President Ronald Reagan. The govenor said that legislation needs to be passed to get high-powered weapons off the street to prevent more mass shootings.
Fighting back tears, Newsom called out Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), saying he is still waiting to hear from him.
“We haven’t heard one damn word from him,” Newsom said. “Not since Monterey Park. Not what happened here. Not one word…it should surprise no one.”
Newsom closed by praising those who responded during and after the shooting, offering prayers for the one injured victim who is still recovering from injuries sustained in the shooting.
“Thank you for showing up,” Newsom said.
The shooting comes just two days after 11 were killed and nine injured in a shooting in Monterey Park, California, during Lunar New Year celebrations. The suspect in that shooting is believed to have taken his life a day after the shooting during a standoff with police.
Speaking with CBS Evening News about the Monterey Park shooting on Monday morning, Newsom criticized the Second Amendment calling it a “suicide pact.”
“This Second Amendment's becoming a suicide pact, it feels like,” Newsom said. “California's 37% lower than the death rate of the rest of the nation, and yet, with all that evidence, no one on the other side seems to give a damn.”