Two brothers were shot and one was killed in last year’s Half Moon Bay mass shooting that took seven lives, and now the surviving brother and his family are suing the California Terra Gardens farm.

We are now 14 months past the Half Moon Bay farm mass shooting that killed seven people and gravely injured one more. The accused shooter, Chunli Zhao, has pleaded not guilty, though he may have admitted to the crime in a jailhouse interview. The latest we’ve heard on him is from KGO, which says his trial may begin “either this year or early next year.”

But there are other legal developments separate from Zhao’s criminal proceedings. KPIX reports that the family of two victims is suing the owners of the mushroom farm where the shooting took place. Those two victims are brothers Jose Romero Perez, who was killed, and Pedro Felix Romero Perez, who suffered five gunshot wounds.

"California Terra Gardens profits off the backs of migrant workers like Pedro and Jose, who persevered in the face of unimaginable working and living conditions,” their family’s attorney Nabilah Hossain said in a release. “Instead of protecting them like the essential workers, California Terra Gardens failed to safeguard them from numerous dangers."  

There is little dispute about the “unimaginable working and living conditions” part of that statement, as the workers were living in shipping containers with no running water, and not even being paid minimum wage. KQED reported in February of this year that California Terra Gardens paid $126,000 in workplace violation fines, in addition to a $150,000 settlement to the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.

But there is also a case to be made over Zhao’s violent history, and the farm’s lack of response to it. In 2013, Zhao reportedly threatened to stab a co-worker in the head, and then tried to suffocate that person. Last year’s shootings were apparently spurred by a $100 forklift repair bill that a bullying manager tried to make Zhao pay, and reports on that came with the news that Zhao kept a Glock handgun under his pillow.

As the lawsuit describes it, "First, Zhao killed the bully in front of a supervisor. Then he killed the supervisor. Zhao then proceeded to the worker encampment at the farm to seek vengeance upon other people against whom he held longstanding personal grudges. Zhao faced no obstacles or deterrents on route to the encampment. After arriving at the worker encampment, Zhao entered the trailer Pedro shared with his brother. Jose was asleep and defenseless."

The late Jose Romero Perez is survived by his wife, who is among those suing the farm. The family of brother Pedro Felix Romero Perez is also suing, and he's been unable to work while recovering from three surgeries.  

Related: Half Moon Bay Shooting Draws Attention to Squalid Conditions For Farm Workers Who Live On-Site [SFist]

Image: HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 27: San Mateo County sheriff deputies hold candles during a candlelight vigil for the victims of the recent mass shooting in Half Moon Bay on January 27, 2023 in Half Moon Bay, California. Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil to honor the victims of the mass shooting in coastal town of Half Moon Bay this past week. 7 people were shot and killed while they were working at two separate farms. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)