Half Moon Bay shooting suspect once tried to suffocate coworker, court docs allege

The Half Moon Bay mushroom farm worker
suspected of killing seven co-workers
in a fit of workplace rage had previously been accused of threatening to split another co-worker’s head open with a knife and trying to suffocate the man a decade ago at another Bay Area job, according to court records obtained by The Chronicle.

In 2013, Yingjiu Wang filed for a temporary restraining order against 66-year-old Chunli Zhao, telling a judge his roommate and co-worker at a San Jose restaurant had physically assaulted him and made death threats days earlier. A judge granted the order, which is no longer in effect. Efforts to reach Wang were not immediately successful.

The Santa Clara County Superior Court records paint a picture similar to that of Monday’s mass shooting, the deadliest in San Mateo County history.

Investigators say Zhao shot and killed his co-workers at two mushroom farms, while injuring an eighth employee, in a “workplace violence” incident. The San Mateo County district attorney said he is planning to file charges Tuesday against Zhao, who is being held without bail at a Redwood City jail, where he was booked on suspicion of seven counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Zhao’s former roommate Yingjiu Wang wrote in a 2013 restraining order request that Zhao had made “threats of making life difficult at work and threatening to kill me if I don’t get him his job back.”

Zhao’s former roommate Yingjiu Wang wrote in a 2013 restraining order request that Zhao had made “threats of making life difficult at work and threatening to kill me if I don’t get him his job back.”

Chronicle composite

In March 2013, Zhao worked at a South Bay restaurant. On March 10, according to Wang’s restraining order application, he quit the job. Over the next week, Wang described in court records an escalating fear about his roommate and former co-worker’s behavior.