Half Moon Bay suspected gunman allegedly tried to suffocate worker years before mass shooting

The Half Moon Bay shooting suspect who is accused of killing seven farm workers threatened to suffocate a colleague years earlier, according to court documents.

Chunli Zhao, 66, threatened to suffocate and split open the head of his male colleague, who was also his roommate, with a knife, according to court documents cited by The San Francisco Chronicle.

The suspect was accused of making the threats in March 2013 after he quit a restaurant job, according to a civil harassment restraining order filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

The roommate wrote in a sworn declaration that the suspect, “took a pillow and started to cover my face and suffocate me” after being told to collect his final paycheck at the restaurant.

The declaration states that Mr Zhao responded, “today I am going to kill you.”

The court papers say that the roommate repelled the attack by using “all my might”, according to the newspaper.

The suspect worked for decades at one of the two agricultural business sites where the shooting unfolded on Monday afternoon.

Northern California Fatal Shooting (©San Francisco Chronicle/Carlos Avila Gonzalez)
Northern California Fatal Shooting (©San Francisco Chronicle/Carlos Avila Gonzalez)

He was arrested soon after when he was spotted sitting in his car outside a local sheriff’s office. Video from the scene showed officers wrestling him to the ground and placing him in handcuffs.

Authorities have called the killing an incident of workplace violence.

Prosecutor says he will be charged with seven counts of murder and one of attempted murder. He is expected to be arraigned later on Wednesday.