Dozens of community members held a vigil at Star Ballroom Dancing Studio in Monterey Park on Tuesday to mourn the 11 victims who died in Saturday night’s shooting.
Huu Can Tran, 72, fired an assault gun into the dance studio on Jan. 21 at 10:20 p.m. during a Lunar New Year celebration. At the scene, he killed 10 people and injured 10 others, but one of the injured victims succumbed to a gunshot wound at a hospital, according to law enforcement.
Monterey Park residents and LA County community members gathered to display a memorial in front of the dance studio Tuesday evening. They shared their memories of the studio and expressed their opinions on how to prevent another mass shooting.
Lisa Liang said she parked in front of the studio for the celebration on Saturday night and looked inside the studio to watch everyone dancing and enjoying their evening. An hour after she left, Liang learned about the massacre.
“[I’m] standing at that side door, and I’m watching them dance. I’m just replaying it in my head, all the details because it was very beautiful,” Liang said. “There are moments where I process some of the faces that I saw, maybe they’re not alive anymore.”
Clark Tang brought his five-year-old daughter, Kimberly, to the vigil so she would learn to value life. By teaching Kimberly kung-fu, Tang said he is teaching her self-discipline.
“I want her to understand how life is precious, yet fragile,” Tang said. “Kung fu is about physical well-being, mental well-being and the spiritual world. I want my daughter to know when she’s mad at something she knows how to control herself.”
Community members continued to express their belief that addressing mental health would help reduce mass shootings. There were 39 mass shootings during the first three weeks of January, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Chris NG, who attended the vigil, said he was a part of the “Anti Lonely Lonely Club,” which was started by a friend of his. The group was dedicated to helping people with depression and other mental health issues.
“One of my friends went through a really bad depressive episode. Except when they were alone, they still wanted to reach out to people,” NG said.
Liang also believed that having a social group can improve a person’s mental health.
“Having friends helps ease that energy from your mind, and maybe he didn’t have any of that, and that’s not something the government can give,” Liang said.
People experiencing violent or suicidal thoughts are encouraged to call available 24/7 mental health resources such as 741741 and the national suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255.