West News Wire: In two connected shootings in California, hours after two students were shot dead in Iowa, at least seven people have been killed and one other has been gravely hurt, making gun violence in the United States worst it has ever been.
Less than 48 hours had passed since a shooter in the western state killed 11 people at a Lunar New Year party close to Los Angeles.
Two more children were killed earlier on Monday at a school in the state of Iowa in what authorities suspect to have been a gang-related shooting. According to a statement from the police, an 18-year-old suspect has been detained in relation to the event.
The motive for the shootings in California, which has sent ripples of shock and outrage across the state, is not known yet.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office tweeted just before 5 p.m. local time (0100 GMT) that a suspect in the shootings was in custody.
“The Sheriff’s Office is responding to a shooting incident with multiple victims in the area of [Highway] 92 and the [Half Moon Bay] City limits,” the office tweeted.
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine in a statement said four people were killed at a mushroom farm and three at the trucking business on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay, a city about 48km south of San Francisco.
“We are sickened by today’s tragedy in Half Moon Bay,” Pine noted in a statement. “We have not even had time to grieve for those lost in the terrible shooting in Monterey Park. Gun violence must stop”.
Pine said the suspect worked for one of the businesses, calling him a “disgruntled worker”.
The police identified the suspect as 67-year-old Half Moon Bay resident Chunli Zhao, who was “taken into custody without incident” and a semi-automatic handgun was found in the suspect’s vehicle.
Sheriff Christina Corpus, speaking at a news conference, said the 67-year-old was taken into custody after driving to a sheriff’s substation in Half Moon Bay where he was pulled to the ground by armed officers.
“Shortly thereafter three additional victims were also located deceased with gunshot wounds at a separate shooting scene,” she told reporters.
In the past week, there have been two mass shootings in California; according to the police, both culprits appeared to know at least some of the victims and both utilized semiautomatic weapons.
Gavin Newsom, the governor, referred to Monday’s shootings as another “tragedy”.
“I am being dragged away to receive information about another massacre when I am at a hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting. Half Moon Bay, this time. Disaster upon disaster “Tweeted him.
According to the AP/USA Today database on mass killings in the nation, the deaths on Monday represented the fifth mass shooting in the US this month and the bloodiest since 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas.
According to the website Gun Violence Archive, there were 647 shootings in the US in 2022 that resulted in four or more fatalities, making it the year with the highest firearm mortality rates in thirty years.
The nation’s gun ownership is continuing to rise, and the legal environment surrounding firearms is evolving.
Analysts believe there is a connection between bias-motivated gun violence and the rise of hate groups and poisonous rhetoric in the US that target marginalized and at-risk communities.