Grand jury indicts accused Half Moon Bay mass shooter

Grand jury indicts accused Half Moon Bay mass shooter

REDWOOD CITY – A man accused of killing seven coworkers and injuring an eighth one year ago in Half Moon Bay has been indicted by a San Mateo County criminal grand jury.

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Chunli Zhao, 66, will be arraigned at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday – the anniversary of the workplace shootings – on seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office said.

In addition, Zhao is charged with the special circumstance allegation of multiple murder.

The same charges were alleged in a felony complaint filed on Jan. 25, 2023. The indictment, however, supersedes the complaint and negates the need for a preliminary hearing, skipping one step in the legal process and advancing the case.

The preliminary hearing was supposed to take place in December, but Zhao’s legal team said it needed more time, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Bay Area News Group in an interview. As a result, the hearing was moved to March 18.

Prosecutors went the grand jury last week to “move the case along,” Wagstaffe said.

“Sometimes you go to a grand jury so you can add charges. This is the identical set of charges,” Wagstaffe said. “The victims’ families deserve to have this move along.”

Zhao’s attorneys, Jonathan McDougall and Eric Hove, did not immediately return calls and emails Monday afternoon seeking comment on the grand jury indictment.

Zhao, who pleaded not guilty to the original charges, has been in custody since the mass shooting.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.