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Lawsuits filed against the owners of a mushroom farm after death and injury of two brothers in Half Moon Bay

By Taylor Romine, CNN

(CNN) — The family of a man who was killed in a Northern California mass shooting and his brother, who was injured in the attack, filed two lawsuits against a mushroom farm and one of its owners after the January 2023 shooting that left seven people dead, an attorney announced Friday.

Jose Perez, 38, and his brother Pedro Perez, 24, were working and living at the California Terra Garden, Inc. mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay when suspected gunman Chunli Zhao fatally shot Jose Perez and six others and injured Pedro Perez in the shooting that occurred at two different farms, the lawsuits filed Wednesday say.

Zhao, who allegedly shot four people at California Terra Garden, Inc. and three others at another farm two miles away on January 23, 2023, was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The family of Jose Perez is suing the owners of California Terra Garden, Inc. and its owner Xianmin Guan, for wrongful death and survival action, according to the lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court. Pedro Perez is suing the owners in a separate lawsuit, claiming negligence.

The lawsuits claim the farm’s owners provided “deplorable living conditions” and also “failed to adequately secure their premises against reasonably foreseeable criminal acts.”

“I have suffered a lot,” Pedro Perez said through a translator during a news conference Friday. “I was two months in the hospital, and because of that we are making this demand, this lawsuit.”

The shooting victim said he was shot twice in his stomach and once each in his arm, face and back, and that he’s still in pain as he continues recovering.

“I’m still trying to get better,” Pedro Perez said. “I’m barely getting on my feet since it happened, and still not working. And the other thing is, I lost my brother,” he said, adding that he and his brother “were inseparable.”

The family suing on behalf of Jose Perez was not at the news conference as they live in Oaxaca, Mexico.

They are looking for compensation for the victims, attorney Duffy Magilligan said, but he did not specify an amount.

CNN has reached out to California Terra Garden, Inc. and attempted to reach Xianmin Guan for comment on the lawsuit.

“Everybody has a right to feel safe in their home in the state of California and Jose Perez and Pedro Perez had their rights violated on January 23 of 2023 by California Terra Gardens, where they were living,” said Magilligan during the news conference.

Last June, both California Terra Garden Inc. and Concord Farms Inc., where both shootings occurred and where Zhao had been employed, were cited for more than a dozen occupation safety and health violations including failure to address previous incidents of workplace violence and failing to have a plan or procedures to notify employees immediately of an active shooter, CNN previously reported.

Zhao is awaiting trial and is expected to appear in court later this month. CNN has previously sought comment from his attorney.

CNN’s Eric Levenson and Ashley R. Williams contributed to this report.

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