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Thursday, February 2, 2023

[Field Coverage] Asian communities left in shock after Monterey Park mass shooting

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Ten people were killed and another 10 injured in a shooting at Monterey Park on the night of the 21st, the eve of the Lunar New Year. A vigil was set up at the scene of the incident on the 22nd, followed by neighbors paying their respects to the victims. Reporter Kim Sang-jin.

The mass shooting at Monterey Park took place after the Lunar New Year festival, shocking the Korean as well as other Asian communities.

There was still tension at the scene at around 2 p.m. on the 22nd, the day after the incident.

Dozens of police from the Monterey Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department conducted investigations and were heavily guarded, closing one block each in the east-west direction from the intersection of Gabi and Garfield Avenue, which is where the dance club was located.

The Lunar New Year festival was originally planned to continue on the 22nd, but was cancelled and city officials came to withdraw booths and equipment in the morning.

On the day of the incident, the Lunar New Year festival was held here until 9 p.m.

Thousands of local residents and Asians participated in the event, blocking three blocks of the driveway from Garfield to Alhambra Avenue on Gabby Avenue.

Lee Sang-woo (pseudonym), a Korean owner of a nearby coffee shop that was open at the time of the incident, said, “There were many young students and families who came to enjoy the festival. Fortunately, there was no damage at our end, but I was shocked the next day when I learned that there was such an incident.” “It’s terrible to think that it could have led to more damage,” he said.

According to Lee, there are many Korean businesses around here, and there are up to six Korean businesses in the mall where Lee is operating, five minutes away by car from the scene of the incident.

“The market closed earlier than usual because of the festival, so I couldn’t see what happened in person,” said A, a Chinese owner who runs a bakery at the “HK Good Fortune Supermarket” near the site. “I’ve lived in the area for 40 years, and this is the first time something like this happened.”

“The place where the incident happened was a popular place for old Chinese immigrants who weren’t fluent in English,” said 25-year-old Chinese student Able Kwan, who moved here two years ago. “I heard that the criminal went straight to shoot the dance club owner as soon as he entered out of spite.”

There are many words about the suspect’s motive. Police said they are investigating and did not disclose the exact motive.

Chester Chong, chairman of the LA Chinese Chamber of Commerce, told ABC7 that the suspect’s wife was invited to an event held by the owner of the dance club on the day of the shooting, but the suspect was not invited. “Maybe the jealousy felt by the suspect was the motive.”

James Ahn, chairman of the LA Korean Association, said, “As a result of checking with officials from the LA Police Department (LAPD) office, both the dead and the injured were known to be Chinese. We confirmed that there were no reports of harm done to Koreans.” He added, “Police have informed us that they are investigating a possible case between the suspect and his family or acquaintances.”

Kwon Sung-Hwan, consul general of the LA Consulate General, said, “We are contacting the Sheriff through the police consul to find out if there are any Korean residents among the victims,” adding, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also interested in the case and asked for a quick update.”

Choi Seung-won, a Korean who runs a seafood barbecue restaurant nearby, said in an interview with a media that three people rushed in and said they had to lock the restaurant door urgently.

He added that they told him that there was a man with a semi-automatic gun nearby and that the gunman had several rounds of ammunition and would reload if he ran out.

Meanwhile, Monterey Park is the first city in the U.S. mainland where Asian residents account for about 65% of Asian residents and immigrant groups from China, Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam settled.

Reporter Jang Su-ah.

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