Back-to-back shootings in California, Iowa and Washington leave communities grieving

By Nouran Salahieh, CNN

A series of back-to-back shootings have made for a heart-wrenching several days in multiple cities across the country that now join a growing list of American communities scarred by gun violence.

“Only in America do we see this kind of carnage — this kind of chaos, this kind of disruption of communities, and lives, and confidence and sense of safety and belonging,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday after his state suffered 3 mass shootings in just 3 days.

Newsom was still visiting victims of the Monterey Park, California, shooting that claimed 11 lives when he was told of a second shooting to the north in Half Moon Bay. There, officials described the attack that killed seven as an apparent “act of workplace violence.”

“I feared two days ago that Monterey Park would give way to other headlines. Little did I know I’d be up here,” Newsom said, speaking from Half Moon Bay. “Meanwhile, the trauma and the damage the devastation is felt for generations in some cases — communities being torn asunder, no one feeling safe.”

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

Just hours later, five people were shot, including an 18-year-old who died, in a shooting in Oakland, California, Monday night.

Also on Monday, in Des Moines, Iowa, police say a suspect opened fire at an educational program for at-risk youth, killing two students and leaving the program’s founder seriously injured.

Then, overnight, at least three people were killed in Yakima, Washington, when a man went into a Circle K and started shooting, according to police.

Those are just some of the communities grieving following recent acts of gun violence.

There have been 40 mass shootings in the US so far in 2023 — more mass shootings than at this point in any year on record, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The archive and CNN define a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot, not including the shooter.

Here are the latest key developments:

In Half Moon Bay, court records obtained by CNN show the suspect was subject to a temporary restraining order after a former coworker and roommate accused him of attacking and threatening him in 2013. The 66-year-old suspect is expected to be arraigned Wednesday, Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean Gallagher told CNN.
In Monterey Park, all 11 people killed in the mass shooting were identified. They were all were in their late 50s to mid 70s.
In Yakima, the suspect was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.
In Des Moines, the shooting suspect has been charged with murder.

Investigators and federal agents on the different cases are tracing firearms, serving search warrants, examining suspect histories and looking for motives. Here are the details of some of the most recent major shootings.

Half Moon Bay, California

Officials say the suspect — identified as Chunli Zhao — killed seven people and injured one in a mass shooting Monday. Four people were shot at a mushroom farm, where the suspect was an employee, and three more were killed at a nearby farm, authorities said.

“All of the evidence we have points to this being the instance of workplace violence,” San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said.

Zhao was a “co-worker or former co-worker” of the victims at each shooting site, the sheriff’s office said.

The suspect, who was not known to local law enforcement prior to the shooting, owned a semi-automatic weapon that was registered to him, the sheriff told CNN Tuesday.

The suspect had been accused of trying to suffocate and threatening to kill a former coworker at another job nearly a decade ago, according to court records obtained by CNN, which show he was subject to a temporary restraining order after a former coworker and roommate accused him of attacking and threatening him in 2013.

Monterey Park, California

Authorities still don’t know what motivated the Saturday night shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, which came as the city’s majority Asian community was celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Investigators served a search warrant at the home of the suspected gunman — 72-year-old Huu Can Tran — and found “hundreds of rounds” of ammunition as well as evidence leading officials to believe he was “manufacturing homemade firearm suppressors,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said.

The gunman fired 42 rounds from a semi-automatic handgun at the dance hall before heading to a second dance studio in nearby Alhambra, where a civilian charged him and wrestled the gun away from him, Luna said.

Eleven people died and several others were wounded.

The victims were identified by the coroner’s office as: Xiujuan Yu, 57; Hongying 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 inside a white van about 30 miles away in Torrance. The sheriff said he died following a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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

Yakima, Washington

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

Police were eventually pointed to the suspect’s location Tuesday after getting a call from a woman who had lent the suspect her phone and heard him make “several incriminating statements including ‘I killed those people,’” Murray said during a news conference.

Police responded and later announced the suspect had died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the chief.

The police department had earlier identified the “presumed homicide suspect” as Jarid Haddock, 21.

The motive behind the shooting remains under investigation but Murray said the attack appeared “very much random.”

Oakland, California

On Monday evening in Oakland, about 40 to 50 people were out filming a music video when “gunfire broke out from multiple shooters in various directions,” Oakland Police Department acting Chief Darren Allison said during a news conference.

Officers received an alert from gunshot detection technology ShotSpotter and responded to the scene to find “some casings” but no victims. They later learned that multiple gunshot victims showed up at several area hospitals, Allison said.

A total of five people were shot, including an 18-year-old man who died. A driver and passengers were also injured when they crashed while fleeing the scene, according to Allison.

The acting chief called it a “targeted shooting” and said investigators are “looking into the possibility of a gang or group connection with this incident.”

Des Moines, Iowa

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

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

The shooting suspect, Preston Walls, 18, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and criminal gang participation, police said in an updated statement.

CNN has been unable to determine if Walls has retained legal counsel.

“The incident was definitely targeted,” Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said of the shooting. “It was not random. There’s nothing random about this. It was certainly a targeted incident. But as far as getting motive, that is something that we are going to try and figure out.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Taylor Romine, Veronica Miracle and Augie Martin contributed to this report.

The post Back-to-back shootings in California, Iowa and Washington leave communities grieving appeared first on KTVZ.