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‘We Gotta Melt the Guns’: Half Moon Bay Reacts After Seven Shot Dead

Written by Garrett LeahyPublished Jan. 24, 2023 • 8:07am
Phil Thoren sits inside Cameron's Pub and Restaurant in Half Moon Bay on Jan. 23, 2022. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

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Half Moon Bay’s bars and restaurants closed early Monday night after the shootings killed seven and injured one, a local bartender told The Standard.

Macey Morton, a bartender at Cameron’s Pub and Restaurant said the business locked its doors at around 3:30 p.m. after she had seen police cars along Highway 1 near the restaurant.

“It was scary. We were like, ‘What do we do?’” Morton said. “No one knew what was going on.”

Lisa Doyle outside Cameron’s Pub and Restaurant in Half Moon Bay on Jan. 23, 2022. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

READ MORE: Live Blog: Here’s What We Know About the Half Moon Bay Shootings

Lisa Doyle, a Pacifica resident who was visiting Half Moon Bay in her RV, said,
“I just think we gotta melt the guns. We wouldn’t have these issues if guns weren’t so accessible.”

“It happens everywhere. No place is safe, I guess,” said Bill Carl, a 25-year resident of Half Moon Bay. “I’m surprised it happened here.”

Bill Carl sits inside Cameron’s Pub and Restaurant in Half Moon Bay on Jan. 23, 2022. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Phil Thoren, who moved to Half Moon Bay from Saratoga five years ago, said he did so looking for a quiet place to live, and that the mass shooting Monday shattered the feeling of security he originally had in the sleepy seaside town.

“This kind of reset the table for me. You’re aware this can happen anywhere,” Thoren said. “This was a shock”

A San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputy lifts police tape to allow a vehicle through outside the Sheriff’s Office Half Moon Bay Police Substation on Jan. 23, 2023. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the suspected shooter, Chunli Zhao, at the Half Moon Bay Police Substation Monday afternoon. He is set to appear in court Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Redwood City Hall of Justice. The District Attorney’s Office is also expected to file charges early Wednesday morning.

San Mateo Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 12700 block of San Mateo Road on Highway 92 in San Mateo County at 2:22 p.m. Monday on a report of a shooting with multiple victims.

Upon arrival, deputies located four deceased victims with gunshot wounds. A fifth victim, also suffering from gunshot wounds, was transported to Stanford Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

Shortly thereafter, three additional deceased victims with gunshot wounds were found at a separate shooting scene in the 2100 block of Cabrillo Highway South.

The motive for the shooting is currently unknown.

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Garrett Leahy can be reached at [email protected]


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