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Sole survivor of Half Moon Bay farmworker mass shooting speaks out at 1-year memorial

Published January 23, 2024

Half Moon Bay


Sole survivor of Half Moon Bay shooting speaks out at 1-year memorial

January 23, marks the one-year anniversary of a mass shooting in Half Moon Bay that left seven people dead. One year later, the community gathered for a memorial where the sole survivor spoke out.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. - In Half Moon Bay on Tuesday, there was a memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at two farms that killed seven farmworkers and seriously injured an eighth. 

The first annual memorial of the Half Moon Day mass shooting began with a round table discussion of representatives from the farmworker community to Congress and the White House.

The sole survivor of the shooting, farmworker Pedro Romero Perez, read from his statement in Spanish of gratitude for the assistance he and his family, as well as that of his deceased brother Jose, have received since they were attacked by the assailant. But has there been overall progress?

"I have never seen a community come together the way this community has. It's not a bunch of words," said Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. (D) Peninsula.

The biggest progress so far: on the home front. "We've seen about three farmworker housing projects that are looking to come to change the housing conditions," said Dr. Belinda Hernandez Arriaga, founder of the advocacy and leadership group ALAS

"They need a place to live. So, you put the resources together so they have a dignified place to stay all this year until the housing is built. A year from right now, farmworkers are going to be able to move into dignified housing and there will be more," said Congresswoman Eshoo.

Half Moon Bay shooting memorial

The Half Moon Bay community gathered Tuesday to mark one year since a gunman opened fire, killing seven farmworkers. People lit candles in honor of the victims. Trauma from from the shooting still lingers.

Another sign of progress: the realization that farmworkers come from everywhere. "Nobody really knew that there were Chinese farmworkers, Right,? Now we know we have folks who are very invisible, very vulnerable. And, so how are we as a community responding to those folks?" said Asian Pacific Fund President Carolyn Wang Kong.

Still to do: recognizing that farmworkers, even those who are undocumented, have rights and the right to get help. 

"Farmworkers have been limited to making those calls. There's the fear of a lot of things: retaliation, losing their jobs, their housing, maybe even deportation," said Half Moon Bay Mayor Joaquin Jimenez.

Also needed: for the media to stick with the story more often than memorials. 

"I do think it helps both the media understand the issues happening in the community but, as a voice, you're helping what those issues are for the rest of us," said Wang Kong. 

"Media does need to do more to continue to push the story, tell the story, find those spaces where the story isn't being told," said Dr. Hernandez Arriaga. " This is a good news story, that's built on a tragedy and I think people would welcome hearing about that," said Eshoo.

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