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Suspect in custody after 7 people fatally shot at Northern California nurseries

A suspected gunman was arrested Monday after seven people were fatally shot at two nurseries near a small city south of San Francisco, authorities said.

The victims were found just outside Half Moon Bay, a coastal city of roughly 11,000 about 30 miles south of San Francisco, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus told reporters.

An eighth victim was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, Corpus said.

The suspected shooter was identified as Zhao Chunli, 67. Aerial video captured by NBC Bay Area showed him surrendering to authorities at a sheriff’s substation in Half Moon Bay.

Police investigate fatal shootings at a mushroom farm and a trucking company near Half Moon Bay, in San Mateo County, Calif., on Monday.NBC Bay Area

A motive remained unknown, Corpus said. The victims had not yet been identified; she said they are thought to be farm workers.

People live at one or both of the locations, and Corpus said children were present when the gunfire erupted.

“It was in the afternoon when kids were out of school,” she said. “For kids to witness this — it’s unspeakable.”

Deputies were dispatched to the first location at 2:22 p.m. after a report of a shooting, Corpus said. They found four people dead at the business and one person with critical injuries, she said.

Shortly after, authorities found three more fatally wounded victims at the second location, she said.

Roughly two hours after the first shooting, a deputy located Zhao’s SUV at the substation and he was taken into custody, Corpus said.

It wasn’t clear how long Zhao had been there or why he was there, she said.

The shooting comes two days after a mass shooting in Southern California left 11 people dead who had gathered at a Los Angeles County dance hall for Lunar New Year celebrations.

Investigators in that case believe the suspected gunman may have been targeting his ex-wife.

“At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. “This time in Half Moon Bay.”

“Tragedy upon tragedy,” he said.

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