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Family of Half Moon Bay shooting victims sue mushroom farm owners for allegedly failing to protect staff


HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KION-TV) -- Family members of two brothers shot at a Half Moon Bay Mushroom farm are filing a lawsuit against California Terra Garden, Inc. (CTG) and the farm's owner.

The family, identified as the wife and daughter of Jose Romero Perez claims the owner, Xianmin Guan and the company "failed to adequately secure their premises against reasonably forseeable criminal acts of third parties."

This is in direct reference to a pair of deadly shootings carried out at two separate farms on January 23, 2023. Chunli Zhao is accused of shooting five people at the Half Moon Bay farm before traveling to Concord Farms and allegedly killed three other people.

According to the lawsuit, Zhao had a history of violent behavior, including an incident where he threatened to kill his roommate by suffocating him with a pillow.

The court complaint document says a Santa Clara County court issued a restraining order against Zhao in 2013. It also says Zhao threatened to cut a roommate with a knife.

On the day of the shooting, the document claims a worker believed to have been a bully of Zhao's accused Zhao of damaging a forklift by colliding into a bulldozer. It was at this moment Zhao turned violent, allegedly killing the bully before killing his supervisor. It was during this time the lawsuit states Zhao faced "no obstacles or deterrents" while walking to a farmworker encampment where Jose Romero Perez and his brother, Pedro, were resting.

Perez was killed while Pedro was shot five times but survived.

The lawsuit suggests CTG and the owner, Guan, had reason to believe Zhao would harm employees and didn't use reasonable care to protect Jose and other victims.

Plaintiffs also referenced an investigation completed by the CalOSHA that found 22 violations that occurred prior to and during its five-month investigation, which began shortly after the shooting.

The court document says CTG was specifically cited for failing to establish, implement, and maintain procedures for identifying and evaluating hazards posed by an active shooter. The company was also cited for failing to "implement means and methods for employees to notify employer of acts or threats of violence in a safe and conditional manner."

CTG was also found to have failed to provide active shooter training following a separate shooting at the farm back in July 2022.

Plaintiffs are asking for defendants to provide financial compensation for damages suffered in connection to Jose Romero Perez's life being cut short and also for any medical expenses or property damage suffered which would be subject to proof at trial.

The full document is provided below:

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Victor Guzman

Victor Guzman is the Assistant News Director at KION News Channel 5/46.


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