On Lunar’s New Year’s Eve, 11 lives were lost in a deadly shooting in Monterey Park, California. 


What was supposed to be a night of celebration quickly turned grim when gunshots were fired in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California on Jan 21. 

According to the LA Times, the shooter was described as a 72-year-old male, and his name was Huu Can Tran. The Hemet resident was responsible for killing 11 people on the night of Chinese New Year’s Eve. 

APU graduate student Ziwei Huang was having dinner in his family home during the night that the mass shooting took place. Huang was only three blocks away from where the incident happened. 

The graduate student said he went to bed early that evening because it’s a tradition to not stay up late. However, the next morning Huang and his family woke up to the tragedy on the news. 

Huang said that it was considered taboo to mention the word death or murder, especially during a time of great festivities. “I was shocked because he could have been someone’s grandfather, yet he murdered people’s family members the day before the Lunar New Year’s,” Huang said.

Due to the incident, no one was celebrating Chinese New Year in the streets of Monterey Park, according to Huang. Instead, this devastating event kept people from commemorating. 

Heidy Vaughn, a social work major at APU, lives in Monterey Park’s neighboring city, Alhambra. “It was a huge shock since no one hears a lot about mass shootings or crimes where I’m from,” Vaughn said. 

Vaughn also mentioned that she has friends who are Chinese and immigrated to the San Gabriel Valley to build a community and feel a sense of belonging. However, a man with a gun destroyed their feeling of security that night. “He violated the family’s home and where they’re from,” she said.

Even though Vaughn didn’t personally know anyone that was affected by the shooting, she was still in shock due to the close proximity of the event. 

Grecel Mares, an APU graduate student, was hanging out with friends 12 minutes away from where the mass shooting happened. It wasn’t until the next morning, however, that she realized how close she was to the masacre.

Mares’s blood ran cold with the thought that she “could have been at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Mares was also astonished to find out that the profile of the shooter was a man in his 70s.

Mares sends her condolences to anyone that was affected by this horrific event. “What happened was disheartening, and this turn of events ruined the holiday for the people celebrating,” she said. 

Since this tragedy, people have been lighting candles as they recount all the lives that were lost on Jan 21. 

According to ABC News, the 11 victims have been identified as: My Nhan, Lillian Li, Xiujuan Yu, Muoi Ung, Hong Jian, Yu Kao, Chia Yau, Valentino Alvero, Wen Yu, Ming Ma and Diana Tom. 

As the San Gabriel Valley tries to grapple with what happened during the Lunar New Year, there is still hope that this tragedy will spark conversation towards change.