With the light of hundreds of candles and the sound of music, Half Moon Bay residents gathered Friday evening in Mac Dutra Park to honor the seven farmworkers who were killed in back-to-back shootings at two mushroom farms, Concord Farms and California Terra Garden.
This was the biggest public gathering in the small coastal town since the shooting, an opportunity for family members and residents to process the tragedy and the turbulent days since then.
The farmworkers killed were Asian and Latino immigrants who lived at their work sites, as did children and other relatives. Yetao Bing, 43, Qizhong Cheng, 66, Zhishen Liu, 73, Jingzhi Lu, 64, José Romero Pérez, 38, Aixiang Zhang, 74, and Marciano Martínez Jiménez, 50, all worked in the region’s agricultural sector for years since their arrival in the US. Romero Pérez's brother, Pedro, survived the attack and is now hospitalized.
Prosecutors have charged 66-year-old Chunli Zhao, who worked at one of the farms, with seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
Standing next to an altar composed of hundreds of flowers brought by well-wishers, Servando Martínez, brother of Marciano Martínez Jiménez, thanked those gathered for their support and acknowledged the deep commitment his brother had to Half Moon Bay. “One of his greatest qualities was that he liked to help those around him,” he said in Spanish. “He really enjoyed getting involved in the community.”
In the 25 years that he lived in Half Moon Bay, Martínez Jiménez built many friendships within Half Moon Bay’s tight-knit immigrant population and volunteered for several community initiatives. “At this moment, Marciano is with my parents, taking care of them as he would take care of us,” Martínez added. “For me, my brother Marciano is not dead. He only took one more step to where we will all be one day. I ask God to forgive the person who took his life.”