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Sole survivor of Half Moon Bay mass shooting files lawsuit against farm

By Da Lin

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    HALF MOON BAY, California (KPIX) — The lone survivor of the 2023 Half Moon Bay mass shooting is suing his former workplace and the business owner.

Pedro Perez underwent three surgeries, and is still in a lot of pain. His brother was also killed at California Terra Garden, where they both worked and lived.

“I had two bullets in my stomach, one in my face, one in my arm and a bullet in my back,” said Perez in Spanish at a Friday morning press conference.

Speaking through a translator, the 24-year-old said life will never be the same and he may never recover from the mental trauma after witnessing the gunman kill his older brother 38-year-old Jose Perez.

“What hurts me so much is that we were always together. I lived with him, we were always together. We would cook together, we would go to the store, we were inseparable,” said Perez.

The two brothers left Oaxaca, Mexico to work and live at the Half Moon Bay mushroom farm California Terra Garden. Perez said they would send money home. Jose is survived by his wife and four kids. Aside from Pedro, Jose’s wife is also suing California Terra Garden and the owner, Xianmin Guan.

Police said a co-worker, Chunli Zhao, killed four people first at California Terra Garden. They said he then went to another farm and killed three more people on January 23rd, 2023.

“We can’t believe it because we didn’t have any problems. And he was our co-worker and we always worked side-by-side with him,” said Perez.

“This case is about holding a landlord accountable for failing to protect the tenants on its property,” said Perez’s attorney Duffy Magilligan.

Magilligan claimed the owner did nothing to prevent the mass shooting, even though he knew about the alleged shooter’s violent history. The attorney said there was also a separate shooting at the farm months before.

“What did California Terra Garden farm do after that shooting in July of 2022? What steps did they take to make sure that it didn’t happen again? And I can tell you what the answer is going to be right now. The answer is they did nothing,” said Magilligan.

Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga is the founder and director of ALAS, an organization that advocates for farm workers. She said they also want to push for better living conditons. She said many migrants across the country continue to live in shipping containers and in deporable conditions with no running water, no kitchens, and no bathrooms. They use porta-potties.

“Weren’t we fighting for (better conditions) years and years and years ago? How are we still in these in these conditions in 2024?” said Hernandez-Arriaga.

As for Perez, the road to recovery is a long one.

Perez said he has not been able to work. Half Moon Bay and San Mateo County are helping him with his rent. He said eventually, he’ll go back to his family in Mexico.

The attorneys representing Perez said how much money they’re seeking in the civil lawsuit will be determined at a later time.

CBS News Bay Area reached out to California Terra Garden and the owner for comment, but did not hear back by press time.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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