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10 dead, 10 wounded in CNY shooting tragedy

by Joyce Remo

A MASS shooting killed 10 civilians during the Chinese Lunar Year celebration, Saturday in a ballroom dance hall in Monterey Park, California.

The tragedy took place in Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where five men and five women were gunned down by a 72-year-old man in an open fire.

With the fatalities equating to 10 and 10 more injured, the supposed two-day festivities to welcome the Year of the Rabbit has been canceled.

The suspect was identified as Huu Can Tran, an Asian man, who later killed himself in a police encounter.

According to authorities, Tran used a high-capacity magazine pistol to shoot up the dance hall, whose main patrons were middle-aged to senior citizens.

After the shooting in Monterey Park, the suspect fled and attempted another attack in another bar in the neighboring city Alahambra, 20 minutes after the open fire.

Fortunately, two brave bystanders tackled Tran’s weapon away before he could fire any shots. He fled the scene but later encountered the police force and turned a handgun on himself, roughly 12 hours since his first attack.

According to the police, they saw Tran driving his white van 20 miles away from the Star Ballroom. When the officers approached the vehicle, they heard a single gunshot and called the SWAT. 

No motives were disclosed by the authorities as of writing. The authorities also did not name the casualties of the attack but Consul General Edgar Badajos told republicasia that no Filipinos reported among the casualties.

“We still are not clear on the motive,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna. “The investigation continues … we want to know how something this awful can happen.”

However, nonprofit organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California’s CEO Connie Chung Joe said regardless of the intent, the impact of the said incident to the community is profound.

“Having this tragedy on one of our most important holidays … it feels very personal to our community,” said Joe. “There is still that feeling of being targeted, and being fearful, when we hear about a shooting like this.”

Out of the 10 wounded, at least seven remained in the hospital to recover from their injury, while one of them is in a critical condition.

City Mayor Pro Tem Jose Sanchez, who was also present during the event, said there were approximately 100,000 people who attended the celebration.

“We haven’t had a celebration like this in three years, so this was momentous. People came out in droves,” he added. 

The city’s Chinese Lunar celebration is one of California’s largest. While the scheduled festivities on Sunday has been canceled, celebrations in other parts of the state continued,

The city has been a designation for Asian immigrants since the 1970s, with at least 70% of its 60,000 total population having Asian descent. 

Banner courtesy: Jay L. Clendenin | Los Angeles Times



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