California man accused of shooting seven farmworkers admits guilt, blames mental illness

The man accused of shooting seven of his fellow farmworkers in California blamed his mental illness after confessing to the crime.

Zhao Chunli says he endured years of bullying and overwork and says his complaints were never addressed. According to The Straits Times, NBC News visited the man and spoke to Zhao in Mandarin.

An NBC reporter told what Zhao had said to her in Mandarin.

“He described to me that he believes that he suffers from some sort of mental illness. He’s struggled with that for a while and he says on Monday he was not in his right mind. He admitted that he did do it. He had lots of concerns-long work hours-and he brought those up and he says those were not addressed.”

The reporter added that Zhao said he “felt that he had undergone years of bullying.”

Zhao was arrested hours after he allegedly shot dead seven farmworkers in Half Moon Bay which is just south of San Francisco.

Five were identified as Chinese citizens, while the other two were identified as Mexicans. One of the two Mexicans has reportedly survived the attack and is being treated at a local hospital.

Now, California officials have started an inquiry into the two farms’ working conditions with Governor Gavin Newsom saying that some farmworkers were “living in shipping containers” and working for far less than minimum wage.

The 66 year old Zhao told NBC that he was living in Half Moon Bay, along with his wife. He says he had been living in the US for around 11 years on a green card. But, the NBC reporter says the suspect appeared confused about the court process and had no one in jail to whom he could speak his native tongue.

“I don’t know if he can-has really comprehended what’s ahead of him and what he faces.”

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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