Mourners collect to recollect Monterey Park victims

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. — A whole bunch of mourners gathered Wednesday night time at a vigil outdoors the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, a usually quiet Los Angeles suburb now dwelling to one of many worst tragedies within the county’s historical past.

Neighborhood members introduced flowers, incense and candles, which twinkled instead of the 11 individuals who as soon as danced and laughed contained in the storied venue that has served as a gathering spot.

“I am actually confused,” stated Andy Luu, who was born in Monterey Park. “This might have been prevented.”

Folks take part in a neighborhood candlelight vigil on the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif., on Wednesday.Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Twenty folks had been shot Saturday night time throughout a Lunar New Yr celebration, simply an hour or so after tens of 1000’s of individuals attended festivities within the metropolis.

The suspect, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday, confirmed up at a second dance corridor minutes after the capturing however was disarmed and fled.

Vice President Kamala Harris, a California native, visited Wednesday night time what has blossomed into a big memorial within the dance studio parking zone, somberly pausing at every of the big, rose-framed pictures of the victims.

She positioned a big bouquet of yellow and white flowers alongside scores of others and advised reporters that “Congress should act.”

“Tragically we hold saying the identical factor,” she stated, referencing the variety of latest mass shootings in america.

Requested whether or not congressional leaders may enact gun security legal guidelines, she stated “Sure.”

“Ought to they do one thing? Sure. Will they do one thing? That’s the place all of us should communicate up,” Harris added.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris walks to lay flowers at the memorial outside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio where a deadly mass shooting took place on January 25, 2023 in Monterey Park, California. Eleven people died and nine more were injured at the studio near a Lunar New Year celebration last Saturday night. Harris also was scheduled to meet with families of victims in the predominantly Asian American community of Monterey Park.
Vice President Kamala Harris walks to put flowers on the memorial outdoors the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, in Monterey Park, Calif., on Wednesday.Mario Tama / Getty Photographs

Moments after Harris boarded her motorcade, mourner Priscilla Wong erupted into heavy sobs.

She was a longtime common on the dance studio and misplaced a number of buddies Saturday night time, together with Diana Tom, a hardworking mom and grandmother who beloved to bounce.

“I promised them I would not come as a result of my youngsters are scared,” she stated. “However I really feel responsible not being right here.”

Los Angeles artist Noah Reich helped construct the altars for the Monterey Park victims. He stated he and his companion have additionally created public monuments for victims of mass shootings in Sacramento; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Buffalo, New York; Highland Park, Illinois; and Uvalde, Texas.

The thought got here to them after the 2016 mass capturing at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, through which 49 folks had been killed and 53 wounded. As a homosexual man, Reich says he deeply sympathizes with Monterey Park’s Asian neighborhood and mourns not simply the lack of life, but in addition the lack of a protected house.

“I protecting considering again to Pulse Nightclub,” he stated. “They had been simply dancing. These had been all simply folks dancing.”

Late Wednesday night time, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division gave its first public updates since Monday on the capturing at Star Ballroom.

County Sheriff Robert Luna advised reporters the suspect hadn’t been to the dance corridor in 5 years and investigators have discovered no connection between him and the victims.

Investigators decided the gun believed to have been used within the capturing — a compact semiautomatic and generally automated firearm often called a MAC-10 — was not registered in California, Luna stated.

Luna stated the suspect purchased the gun in 1999 in Monterey Park, however did not know whether or not he acquired it from a seller or a non-public social gathering, nor did he know whether or not it had been modified. Two different weapons authorities linked to the suspect — a rifle and a pistol — had been registered within the state, Luna stated.

Investigators additionally found a motorbike Wednesday that the suspect is believed to have parked one block from the dance corridor simply earlier than the capturing, Luna stated. He described the bike as a “avenue bike” and stated the suspect appeared to have left it there instead getaway car.

Investigators are nonetheless working to determine a potential motive, he stated.

“Typically it’s irritating when one thing like this occurs that’s so tragic and we’re making an attempt to know it and it doesn’t make sense,” he stated.

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