Los Angeles community mourns Lunar New Year mass shooting

Mass shooting disrupts celebrations in Monterey Park.


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

10 people were wounded and another 10 killed in a mass shooting in Los Angeles on Jan. 21.

Dalet Valles, News Editor

As Lunar New Year festivities were coming to a close on Jan. 21, tragedy struck the community when a 72-year-old man opened fire in two separate locations — Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California and Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, California. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the suspect as Huu Can Tran, a frequenter of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. The suspect killed 10 people — five women and five men — and wounded another 10 people.  The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner identified the two victims as 66-year-old My Nhan and 64-year-old Lilian Li. 

Lai Lai’s operator Brandon Tsay, 26, disarmed Tran before he harmed anyone in that location. Soon after, Tran was seen leaving Alhambra in a white van. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department along with SWAT teams led a manhunt to find the suspect. On Jan. 22, the teams located a vehicle fitting the description in Torrance, California, over 25 miles away from the scene. 

Police released information stating that Tran was found dead by self-inflicted wounds as the teams attempted to make contact with the suspect. 


Gov. Gavin Newsom released a proclamation on Jan. 22, the day after the shootings. 

“Our hearts are with all those grieving lost loved ones and those who were injured in this horrific act of gun violence at what should have been a night of joyful celebration,” said Newsom. “No one should have to fear for their life while gathering in their community. California will continue to lead the charge to end the epidemic of senseless gun violence and protect our diverse communities.”

Gov. Newsom has recognized Lunar New Year as an official state holiday. Flags will be flown at half staff around the state to honor the victims. 

President Joe Biden also released a statement detailing the Department of Homeland Security’s support of local and state authorities as they respond to the tragedy. 

He also proclaimed “that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 26, 2023.”


Because of its close proximity to the city of Monterey Park and the fact that many students are part of the affected community, Biola released a statement via email on Jan. 23 regarding the events that occurred on Saturday night.

“We come into this week with great sorrow and grief at the weekend news of the mass shooting in Monterey Park,” said Todd Pickett, Dean of Spiritual Development and Campus Pastor. “What should have been a time of celebration and family reunion for Asian and Asian American communities across the Southland turned into a horrific tragedy for many families, inciting fear among many, and deep sadness among all of us who can only imagine the pain and loss.” 

Pickett ended the email with a prayer of “lament and intercession” and quoted Psalm 34:18 as he reflected on the loss the community is facing. Tuesday’s Fives chapel will be a prayer service of lament and grief for the victims and community. 

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