SAN FRANCISCO - As members of the Asian American community in Southern California mourn the 10 people who died in Saturday’s mass shooting at a Lunar New Year celebration, those in San Francisco’s Chinatown were banding together and staying strong Sunday.
"We hope that not just in San Francisco but all over the world, places are filled with mercy and kindness and love and compassion and things that bring families and communities together," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
On Sunday afternoon, law enforcement officials swarmed and entered a white van that officials suspect was driven by a gunman who opened fire on a Monterey Park ballroom dance studio, killing 10 people and wounding 10 more.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the man who carried out the mass shooting as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran. He was found dead in a van after shooting himself, the sheriff said.
Police surrounded the van with tactical vehicles and bomb squad trucks for hours before going in. Tran appeared to be slumped over the wheel, but investigators didn't immediately identify the man as Tran.
Torrence, CA - January 22: Emergency services personnel investigate a van where the driver is suspecting an a mass shooting on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023 in Torrence, CA. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
The news of the killings cast grief over Sunday’s celebrations for Lunar New Year in San Francisco.
"This massacre happened in a space where the community was coming together to celebrate,’’ said Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco. "It happened in a sacred space which should be about joy and building community. And instead, we see gun violence."
Donald Lu with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco said the community is sending sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives. And city officials echoed those sentiments.
"We are praying for them, we are mourning with them – our elected family, our community members, our kids, our seniors, our Chinese chamber, CCDC, our nonprofits – everyone has come together in this moment to say we stand with love,’’ said San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu.
Meanwhile, San Francisco police said they are beefing up security all over the city.
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"We are going to make sure that we have a visible presence in the Chinese community and all throughout San Francisco in the coming weeks as we monitor what’s happening,’’ said San Francisco Police Assistant Chief David Lazar.
The shooting sent a wave of fear through Asian American Pacific Islander communities in the Los Angeles area and cast a shadow over Lunar New Year festivities across the country. Other cities also sent extra officers to watch over the celebrations.
But at the celebrations in San Francisco Sunday, organizers had a message about perseverance in the face of tragedy.
"Celebrate a little bit harder with your community because that’s how we’re going to make sure that love conquers hate and not the other way around,‘’ said Malcolm Yeung with the Chinatown Community Development Center. "During this Lunar New Year, please, love your families just a little bit harder than you would have, hug your kids just one more time, hug your parents, your siblings, whoever, just one more time."