HALF MOON BAY, Calif. - Residents in the close-knit community of Half Moon Bay were shocked Monday by a mass shooting that left seven people dead and one person taken to Stanford Hospital with gunshot injuries.
Dozens of San Mateo County Sheriff's investigators and the FBI responded to the shooting scene along Highway 92. Four people were found dead and one injured at the nursery at 12700 San Mateo Road just behind the Spanish Town shopping area.
The suspected shooter, 67-year-old Chunli Zhao of Half Moon Bay – was taken into custody Monday evening by sheriff's detectives in the parking lot of the sheriff substation, where he had parked his white van.
Officials said he had worked at one of the agricultural businesses where he shot his victims, Chinese and Latino farm workers. An exact motive has not been given.
"Mortified, scared and shocked, that something like this would even happen in a small community like this," said Lizette Diaz, a Half Moon Bay resident.
A chaplain was called to the crime scene along with a translator.
MORE: Half Moon Bay shootings leave 7 dead; suspect in custody
Half Moon Bay Vice Mayor Joaquin Jimenez reached out with message of support to farm workers he said were impacted by the shooting.
"My condolences to family that lost a loved one today and to offer the support to all the families and farmworkers that were affected," Jimenez said. "We have been receiving phone calls text messages from family members wanting to know information if their family members are OK."
As investigators interviewed witnesses and searched for evidence, Jimenez says a family reunification center was set up at Half Moon Bay's I.D.E.S. community hall on Main Street.
Diaz said she was there throughout the evening and saw a lot of crying and grief.
"It's heart-breaking," said Diaz. "From what we're told, yes, there were a lot of families that lived back there with their children and the children were able to hear what was going on."
The pain spread as community members learned another three people were shot and killed just a few miles away at another shooting site at Rice Trucking and Soil Farm.
"Our hearts are broken. We are deeply grateful for law enforcement for their work this evening. But in the end, there are too many guns in this country. And there has to be a change," said Dave Pine, who represents District 1 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
Residents in this coastal city were shocked.
"It's tragic for the children that have seen this. I mean the man was captured right across the street from the junior high. I'm devastated that this is what more families have to deal with today," said Kate Shea, a Half Moon Bay resident.
Shea, her son Jake Lopez, and Lizette Diaz are volunteers with the community group ALAS Ayudando Latinos A Soñar. They worked late into the night collecting donations for the families who live at the crime scene along Highway 92 and can't return home.
They say they filled thirteen car-loads with snacks, blankets, bottled water, and juice packs for the children. The hope to collect more blankets and clothing to help the families get through this tragedy.
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.