‘What the hell is wrong with us,’ Newsom asks after second California mass shooting in two days
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (CN) — An exasperated California Governor Gavin Newsom visited the tiny coastal farming community of Half Moon Bay on Tuesday, the site of the second mass shooting in California since Saturday.
“What the hell is wrong with us?” Newsom said, adding he learned of the Half Moon Bay shooting while he was in Monterey Park, the scene of a mass shooting at a Lunar New Year festival that left 11 people dead on Saturday night.
“Society becomes how we behave. We’ve allowed this to happen. It doesn’t have to be this way. It wasn’t always this way. Decades ago it wasn’t this way. We’ve allowed this to happen,” Newsom said.
Newsom said the state will redouble its efforts at passing gun safety laws and legislation.
“Gun safety works, we will not back away from that resolution. But we can’t do it alone, and we feel like we are," Newsom said, adding he has yet to hear from U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield.
“We haven’t heard one damn word from him,” Newsom said.
Newsom also had words for the GOP.
“Where has the Republican Party been on gun reform?” he said. “One state can’t do it alone. Shame on them.”
Monday's mass shooting left five men and two women dead and one person wounded but now in stable condition according to San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus, who spoke at a press conference on with political representatives from the town.
Chunli Zhao, 66, entered Mountain Mushroom Farm in Half Moon Bay and opened fire, killing four people. He later drove to nearby Concord Farms and killed three people there, according to police.
Police took the Half Moon Bay resident into custody in the parking lot of a San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office substation in Half Moon Bay later in the day.
Zhao was an employee of Mountain Mushroom Farm and had previously worked at Concord Farms, according to investigators. Officials have called the mass shooting an act of workplace violence.
“I didn’t want to be here, and I don’t want to be here. I’m processing this in real time,” Newsom said.
Half Moon Bay Vice Mayor Joaquin Jimenez said that the victims — farmworkers, many of whom are Latino and Asian — and the mental health struggles of their co-workers in the wake of the shooting shouldn’t be ignored, along with their housing conditions.
“Some of you should see where these folks are living,” Newsom said of the victims, adding that many of the farmworkers lived in shipping containers and were being paid $9 an hour — less than the state’s minimum wage.
“Many of you come for the pumpkins, but ignore the farmworkers. Not today,” Jimenez said, referring to the town's famous crop and annual festival.
Regarding gun violence, Newsom said, “We know what we need to do. It’s not complicated. So we don’t have to do this again, and again, and again.”