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

Mike Blake/Reuters

By Nouran Salahieh, CNN

(CNN) -- A series of shootings in three states has made for a heart-wrenching several days, leaving 24 dead as more cities 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 three mass shootings in about 44 hours.

Forty mass shootings have been recorded in the US so far in 2023 -- more than at this point in any year on record, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Newsom was still visiting victims of Saturday night's Monterey Park shooting that claimed 11 lives 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" that left seven dead and one person injured.

"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.

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

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

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

Those are just some of the communities grieving following recent acts of gun violence, including mass shootings in which four or more people were shot, not including a gunman.

Here are the latest key developments:

In Half Moon Bay, the suspect was subject to a temporary restraining order after a former coworker and roommate accused him of attacking and threatening him in 2013, court records obtained by CNN show. The 66-year-old, taken into custody Monday, has been charged with seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder by the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. The murder counts all include enhancements for the use of a firearm, great bodily injury and multiple murders.

He is expected to enter a plea at a February 16 hearing.

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

In Yakima, the suspect was found dead Tuesday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.

In Des Moines, a shooting suspect was arrested and 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 more details of some of the most recent major shootings.

Half Moon Bay, California

The San Mateo County Coroner's Office identified six of the victims killed as Yetao Bing, 43; Qizhong Cheng, 66; Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50; Aixiang Zhang, 74; Jingzhi Lu, 64; and Zhishen Liu, 73.

The seventh victim has been tentatively identified but the office withheld the name pending positive identification and the notification of the next of kin.

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 Tuesday, adding the victims were either Asian or Hispanic.

LIVE UPDATES: Latest on the Half Moon Bay shooting

The suspect -- identified as Chunli Zhao -- was a "coworker or former coworker" 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.

All of the victims were of either Asian or Hispanic descent, Corpus said. At least two of the people killed were Mexican nationals, as is the wounded survivor, the Mexican consulate in San Francisco said.

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; Lilan 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 after the shooting, Tran was found dead inside a white van about 30 miles away in Torrance. He died following a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the sheriff said.

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

Yakima, Washington

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 and killed a third person, Police Chief Matt Murray said.

Police were eventually pointed to the suspect's location Tuesday after getting a call from a woman in Yakima 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.

Police earlier had identified the "presumed homicide suspect" as Jarid Haddock, 21.

The motive behind the shooting was being investigated, but Murray said the attack appeared "very much random."

Oakland, California

Up to 50 people were out filming a music video when "gunfire broke out from multiple shooters in various directions" on Monday evening in Oakland, the city's acting police chief said.

Officers got an alert via gunshot detection technology and responded to find "some casings" but no victims. They later learned that gunshot victims showed up at several area hospitals, Acting Chief Darren Allison said.

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, Allison said.

It was a "targeted shooting," and investigators are "looking into the possibility of a gang or group connection with this incident," he said.

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, ages 18 and 16, died, and the program's founder was hospitalized in serious condition, authorities said.

A suspect, Preston Walls, 18, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and criminal gang participation, police said. CNN hasn't been able to determine if he has a lawyer.

"There's nothing random about this. It was certainly a targeted incident," Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek said of the shooting. "But as far as getting motive, that is something that we are going to try and figure out."

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Lilan Li's first name.

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

Share this article: