67-year-old Chunli Zhao, who resided just outside Half Moon Bay, California, was arrested on Monday, just hours after the killing spree, and officials say he is "fully cooperating" with law enforcement.
The shootings took place in two separate farms in the Half Moon Bay area, miles apart from one another. It is presently unknown which shooting occurred first, according to ABC7 News.
Police responded to reports of an active shooter at around 2:20 pm on Monday at Mountain Mushroom Farm. Upon arrival, officers found four victims shot dead and a fifth with life-threatening injuries, who was immediately transferred to Stanford Medical Center.
Shortly afterward, another three victims were discovered at Concord Farms, less than three miles away, also dead from gunshot wounds.
At 4:40 pm, police located Zhao's maroon Lexus SUV in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay sheriff's office. Dramatic footage from ABC7 shows the moment the suspect is taken into custody.
The suspect had worked as an agricultural laborer for decades, and all of his victims were coworkers. It is believed that the victims were targeted by the killer, whom authorities say acted alone and is no longer a threat to the community.
Children were allegedly present at the time of the shooting, as some of the workers lived on-site with their families.
"This is a devastating tragedy for this community and the many families touched by this unspeakable act of violence," said San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus.
"It's a big rural location so people are working, it's spread out, there's people that live at the location as well. So it was the afternoon, kids were out of school and for children to witness, this is unspeakable," she added.
It is unclear how many children witnessed the horrific incident.
The killings come less than 48 hours after a mass shooting in Monterey Park, just outside Los Angeles, in which 11 people were killed celebrating the Lunar New Year.
California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted: "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. Tragedy upon tragedy."
The FBI in San Francisco is providing investigative and forensic resources to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
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