5 shootings in California, Iowa and Washington leave 24 dead as America’s scourge of gun violence drags on



CNN

A series of shootings in three states has resulted in heartbreaking days and left 24 dead, as more cities join a growing list of American communities scarred by gun violence.

“Only in America do we see that kind of carnage, that kind of chaos, that kind of disruption to communities and lives and trust and sense of security and belonging,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday after his state suffered three mass shootings about 44 hours.

Forty mass shootings have been recorded in the United States so far in 2023 — more than in any recorded year at this point, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Newsom was still visiting victims of Saturday night’s Monterey Park shooting, which killed 11 people, when he was told of a second shooting Monday afternoon in Half Moon Bay, which officials later described as an apparent “act of workplace violence.” in which seven people died.

“I worried two days ago that Monterey Park would give way to other headlines. I didn’t know I was going to be up here,” said Newsom of Half Moon Bay. “Now the trauma and damage of the devastation can sometimes be felt for generations – communities are torn apart, no one feels safe.”

The mayor of Monterey Park, still reeling from the attack in his city, offered his condolences to the mourners in Half Moon Bay. “I know what’s in store for them in the next few days,” Mayor Henry Lo said.

Hours after the Half Moon Bay shooting, five people were shot dead, including an 18-year-old who died Monday in Oakland, California.

Also on Monday, a man opened fire on a building housing an education program for at-risk youth in Des Moines, Iowa, killing two students and leaving the program’s founder seriously injured, police said.

Then early Tuesday, a man shot and killed three people in or near a Circle K store in Yakima, Washington, police said.

These are just some of the communities mourning recent acts of gun violence, including mass shootings that left four or more people dead, none of them a gunman.

Here are the latest key developments:

• A restraining order was placed on the suspect in Half Moon Bay after a former colleague and roommate accused him of assaulting and threatening him in 2013, court documents obtained by CNN show. The 66-year-old suspect, who was taken into custody Monday, is scheduled to be charged on Wednesday, the San Mateo County Attorney’s Office told CNN.

• In Monterey Park, all 11 people killed have been identified. They were all in their late 50s to mid 70s.

• In Yakima, police said the suspect was found dead on Tuesday with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

• A suspect in the shooting was arrested in Des Moines and charged with murder.

Investigators and federal agents in the various cases pursue firearms, issue search warrants, investigate suspicious histories, and look for motives.

Here are more details of some of the recent major shootings.

Sheriff's deputies speak to people at the scene of a deadly shooting in Half Moon Bay Monday.

The suspect – identified as Chunli Zhao – killed seven people and injured one in a mass shooting on Monday, officials said. Four people were shot dead at a mushroom farm where the suspect was an employee and three others were killed at a nearby farm, authorities said.

“All the evidence we have suggests that this is a case of workplace violence,” San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said Tuesday, adding that the victims were either Asian or Hispanic.

Zhao was an “employee or former associate” of the victims at each shooting site, the sheriff’s office said.

The suspect, who was unknown to local law enforcement before the shooting, possessed a semi-automatic weapon registered to him, the sheriff told CNN on Tuesday.

The suspect had been accused of attempting to choke and threaten to kill a former colleague at another workplace almost a decade ago, after assaulting and threatening him in 2013.

Authorities still don’t know what motivated Saturday night’s shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, which took place as the city’s mostly Asian community celebrated the Lunar New Year.

Investigators issued a search warrant at the home of the suspected shooter – 72-year-old Huu Can Tran – and found “hundreds of rounds” of ammunition and evidence leading officials to believe he was making “homemade firearm suppressors” in Los Angeles said County Sheriff Robert Luna.

The gunman fired 42 rounds from a semi-automatic pistol at the dance hall before heading to a second dance studio at the nearby Alhambra, where a civilian attacked him and grabbed the gun, Luna said.

Eleven people died and several others were injured.

Officers stand guard near the firing range in Monterey Park.

The victims were identified by the Coroner’s Office as follows: Xiujuan Yu, 57; Hong Ying Jian, 62; Lilian Li, 63; Mymy Nhan, 65; Muoi Dai Ung, 67; and Diana Man Ling Tom, 70; Wen-Tau Yu, 64; Valentino Marcos Alvero, 68; Ming Wei Ma, 72; Yu Lun Kao, 72; and Chia Ling Yau, 76.

Less than a day later, Tran was found dead in a white van about 30 miles away in Torrance. He died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the sheriff said.

The suspect was familiar with the dance hall, but it’s unclear if he knew any of those killed, authorities said.

In Yakima, a man walked into a Circle K early Tuesday and opened fire, killing two people inside, then walked out of the store and shot a third person, Police Chief Matt Murray said.

Police were finally referred to the suspect’s whereabouts on Tuesday after receiving a call from a woman in Yakima, who had lent the suspect her phone and heard him “make several incriminating statements, including, ‘I killed these people ‘” Murray said during a news conference.

Police responded and later announced that the suspect had died from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police had previously identified the “suspected murder suspect” as Jarid Haddock, 21.

The motive behind the shooting has been investigated, but Murray said the attack appeared “very random”.

Up to 50 people were on their way to film a music video when Monday night in Oakland, “gunfire erupted from multiple gunmen in different directions,” the city’s acting police chief said.

Officers received an alert about gunshot detection technology and responded to find “some casing” but no victims. They later learned that gunshot victims were showing up at several area hospitals, assistant chief Darren Allison said.

Five people were shot dead, including an 18-year-old man who died. A driver and passenger were also injured when they collapsed while fleeing the scene, Allison said.

It was a “targeted shooting,” and investigators are considering “the possibility of a gang or group connection to this incident,” he said.

On Monday afternoon, Des Moines police and firefighters responded to a report of a shooting at an educational program for at-risk youth.

They found three victims of gunfire who were taken to hospitals. Two students, aged 18 and 16, died and the program’s founder was hospitalized in serious condition, authorities said.

Officials stand outside a building housing an educational program Monday after a shooting in Des Moines, Iowa.

A suspect, Preston Walls, 18, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and involvement in a criminal gang, police said. CNN has not been able to determine if he has an attorney.

“There is nothing accidental about that. It was certainly a targeted incident,” said Police Sergeant Des Moines. Paul Parizek said about the shooting. “But as for the motive, that’s what we’re going to try to find out.”

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