When celebration turns to mourning
Lunar New Year is a time for celebration, hope and joy. In Monterey Park, California, the holiday was expected to draw hundreds of thousands to the majority Asian suburb of Los Angeles throughout the weekend.
But about an hour after the first day of festivities ended, gunfire rang out at a nearby ballroom dance studio. Black Voice News spoke with a resident of Monterey Park about the shooting.
“I’m shocked because this kind of thing doesn’t happen in this neighborhood,” the woman said.
In total, 11 people ranging in age 57 to 76 were killed: Ming Wei Ma, My my Nhan, Diana Man Ling Tom, Xiujuan Yu, Valentino Marcos Alvero, Yu (Andy) Kao, Hongying Jian, Wen Tau Yu, Chia Ling Yau, Muoi Dai Ung, and Lilan Li.
ICYMI: This week, the Asian American Journalists Association released a pronunciation guide for the Monterey Park victims’ names, which also reiterates the group’s guidance on how to cover Asian American communities.
The suspected shooter, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, died by suicide Sunday afternoon as law enforcement closed in on his vehicle.
The next day’s scheduled events in Monterey Park were canceled and at celebrations that continued across the U.S., like the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival on Sunday in Manhattan’s Chinatown, the shooting was top of mind.
“All of our hearts go out to the terrible, terrible display that took place earlier. We are in prayer for those who lost their lives and those who are injured,” New York Mayor Eric Adams said at the event.
But, despite the tragedy that unfolded in California, attendees told Documented that the festive atmosphere felt like “pre-pandemic times.”
On Monday, just as the world was learning more about those killed and the brave 26-year-old man who disarmed the suspected shooter at a second dance studio, another mass shooting was unfolding in Half Moon Bay, California.
“At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy upon tragedy,” California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted.
Less than 48 hours after the shooting in Monterey Park, seven more adults were shot to death at two farms. On Wednesday afternoon the victims were identified as: Zhishen Liu, 73; Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50; Qizhong Cheng, 66; Aixiang Zhang, 74; Jingzhi Lu, 64; and Yetao Bing, 43; and Jose Romero.
The suspected shooter, 66-year-old farmworker Chunli Zhao, was arrested and has been charged with several felony counts, including seven counts of murder.
And while the investigations into these shootings continue, Asian communities across the nation continue to hold Lunar New Year celebrations — though with much more attention paid to public safety, as Sahan Journal reports.
My hope is by continuing to write about these tragedies we’re able to continue the myriad conversations that arise for more than the one-week news cycle mass shootings in this country tend to get. And for those looking for ways to help, funds have been established to support those affected in both Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. —Alicia Ramirez
Uplift. Respect. Love.