Halifax Chinese community mourns Monterey Park mass shooting victims

California shooting: Lunar New Year event leaves 11 dead, 9 injured

Members of Halifax’s Chinese community say they’re shocked by the mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif. as ​​U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris is expected to meet victims’ families on Wednesday.

“I feel extremely saddened by the fact that this shooting happened during the Chinese New Year, which should be the time for family reunions and celebrations of the new year,” said Nerissa Zhang.

The 15-day Lunar New Year festival began last Sunday.

A gunman entered a Los Angeles-area dance studio during a Lunar New Year celebration on Jan. 21, killing 11 people and injuring nine more.

The 11 victims were in their 50s to 70s, according to USA Today. They were identified by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday.

The man attempted a second shooting in nearby Alhambra, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters, but was disarmed by a witness at the scene.

The suspected gunman was identified by authorities as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran.

The man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound according to police, who found him in a van.

Monterey Park has a predominantly Asian-American population — 65 per cent, according to 2022 U.S. census data.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted condolences and took part in Vancouver’s Chinatown parade last weekend.

Trudeau called the shooting “horrific,” adding Lunar New Year celebrations will be “tinged with sadness and support” for the Monterey Park community.

Zhang said she’s troubled that so many people lost family members on a day of celebration, adding it’ll be remembered as a day of sadness.

Zhang said her own celebration in Halifax isn’t affected but it’s important to acknowledge the shooting.

“I do believe more attention should be brought to Asian communities,” she said. “Especially the well-being of the older generations who live in an English-dominant country.”

Hanmi Ma also lives in Halifax.

Ma said despite the distance between himself and the victims, he’s very upset about the shooting.

“They are Chinese, and we are Chinese,” he said. “We have the same cultural association … The shooting event happened on this day and we’re upset, but we can’t seem to predict when bad things will happen.”

Ma said he’s worried about the safety of international students in Los Angeles.

“For this event, it’s bad for the students who are studying overseas,” he said. “I think about their parents when they leave China.”

Shazara Khan

Shazara Khan

Shazara Khan is a journalism student at the University of King's College. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science. She loves classic films and her favourite actor is Audrey Hepburn.

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