Half Moon Bay community remembers, mourns 1 year after mass shooting

Tara Campbell Image
Monday, January 22, 2024
Half Moon Bay community remembers, mourns 1 year after mass shooting
Nearly one year after a mass shooting rocked the Half Moon Bay farming community, residents gathered to continue a healing process that "is going to take years."

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- Residents of Half Moon Bay gathered Sunday nearly one year after a mass shooting rocked the farming community.

"Today we remember seven farm workers," said Half Moon Bay Mayor Joaquin Jimenez, remembering the farmworkers killed on Jan. 23 of last year, after a gunman opened fire on his former coworkers.

"We are not going to forget the farmworkers every day. The healing process is going to take years. This is just a step forward," said the mayor.

"It is our job, not only to mourn with these families for this tragic loss," said Half Moon Bay resident Cynthia Sherrill. "It is our job to work towards trying to resolve some of the circumstances and issues that led to this horrible event."

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The families of three Half Moon Bay shooting victims speak out as one described the feeling when they were told his brother has died.

"I think, (it) blew a hole in everyone's hearts. The tragedy of it, the senselessness of it," said Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, noting the mass shooting exposing poor living conditions, a lack of mental health services, and fair pay for farmworkers. "It really tore the veil off of some of the operations in farming here on the coast side."

"I can feel that even as people are walking in today, it is just like a gloomy moment," said Rita Mancera, executive director of Puente de la Costa Sur, one of the nonprofits that's been helping the farm workers' families. "I'm just grateful that we were able to support the families with funds for rental assistance, but there's so much work to do about mental health, about gun control, about services for communities."

VIDEO: 'Hidden Crisis: Tragedy in Half Moon Bay' | Watch full special

The mass shooting in Half Moon Bay exposed the deplorable living conditions that some farmworkers endured. Now, officials are looking for a solution.

"There are so many things that they need. And we have, as a community, have not recognized that and now we do," said the mayor.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors signed off earlier this month on a 50-acre lot to be turned into a farmworker housing and co-op.

"It took a tragedy for us to recognize this," said Mayor Jimenez. "And we are not going to forget anymore."

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