HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (NewsNation) — A gunman was arrested in connection to a shooting incident at two agricultural businesses on Monday in Northern California that left at least seven people dead, according to local authorities.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office confirmed just before 5 p.m. local time that the suspect was in custody, and there was “no ongoing threat to the community at this time.”
Police arrested 66-year-old Chunli Zhao from Half Moon Bay in connection to the shooting. A sheriff’s deputy found Zhao, and the weapon he allegedly used, in a car in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay sheriff’s substation.
Authorities believe Zhao acted alone, and the motive for the shooting remains unknown.
“This is a devastating tragedy for this community and the many families touched by this unspeakable act of violence,” San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said during a news conference.
Corpus added that children were in the area when the shooting took place.
“For children to witness this … it’s unspeakable,” she said.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden extended their sympathies for the victims of the Half Bay Moon shooting in a statement Tuesday morning.
“For the second time in recent days, California communities are mourning the loss of loved ones in a senseless act of gun violence,” Biden said. “I have directed my administration to ensure local authorities and the broader Half Moon Bay community have the full support of the federal government in the wake of this heinous attack.”
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine told the Associated Press that Zhao worked for one of the businesses involved in the shooting and may have been a “disgruntled worker.”
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office first received reports of a shooting just before 2:30 p.m. and found four people dead from gunshot wounds and a fifth injured person at the first scene.
Officers found three more people dead from gunshot wounds at a second location about 5 miles away, Capt. Eamonn Allen said in a news release.
Television footage from NewsNation affiliate KRON showed officers taking Zhao into custody without incident.
Aerial television images also showed police officers collecting evidence from a farm with dozens of greenhouses.
Half Moon Bay is a small Northern California community of fewer than 12,000 people about 30 miles south of San Francisco.
“Gun violence has come to our district today and I will do whatever I can to support the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department and Half Moon Bay city officials during this tragic event. We will continue to monitor this situation. My thoughts go out to all affected,” California State Sen. Josh Becker said on Twitter.
The shooting followed the killing of 11 people late Saturday at a ballroom dance hall in Southern California.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted that he was at a hospital meeting victims of the “deadly mass shooting” in Monterey Park when he was informed of the shootings in Half Moon Bay. “Tragedy upon tragedy,” he said.
The president was also briefed on the shooting.
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact authorities at 800-547-2700.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.