Nearly a decade before he allegedly went on a killing spree at two Northern California mushroom farms, the suspected gunman was accused of trying to suffocate and threatening to murder a former coworker at another job.
Police say Chunli Zhao fatally shot seven people, including some of his fellow employees, at two mushroom farms on Monday. But it wasn’t the first time he was accused of violence against someone he worked with, court records obtained by CNN show.
Zhao was subject to a temporary restraining order after a former coworker and roommate accused him of attacking and threatening him in 2013.
Yingjiu Wang, who worked with Zhao at a restaurant and lived with him in a San Jose apartment, wrote in a court declaration that Zhao’s violent behavior started after Zhao quit his job at their shared workplace in March 2013.
Early in the morning two days later, Zhao came into Wang’s room and asked for his salary. When Wang told him to pick it up at the restaurant, Zhao said he would kill Wang, and then “took a pillow and started to cover my face and suffocate me,” Wang wrote.
While he couldn’t breathe, Wang wrote, “I used all my might within the few seconds to push him away with my blanket.”
He said that he called for help and another roommate came to the door, but that Zhao had locked it. The two men ended up wrestling on Wang’s bed before Zhao calmed down, according to Wang.
Two days later, he wrote, Zhao threatened him again, saying that “he can use a knife to cut my head if he can’t come back to work.” Wang wrote that he had no control over Zhao’s work status at the restaurant.
A judge issued a temporary restraining order against Zhao, which prevented him from getting too close to Wang and also banned him from owning or buying a gun, according to the court paperwork. The restraining order expired in July 2013.
The incident was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
An attorney for Zhao in the 2013 complaint did not respond to requests for comment. Wang could not be reached for comment.