Monterey Park shooting: Who were the victims?




  • In Business
  • 2023-01-24 23:46:55Z
  • By BBC
Candlelight vigil at Star Dance Studio
Candlelight vigil at Star Dance Studio  

A hard-working grandmother who loved to dance, an immigrant mother-of-three, and a man described as the "centre of entertainment" were among the victims of Saturday's deadly shooting in Monterey Park, California.

Eleven people were killed in the attack, which also left nine people wounded at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

The victims included six women and five men, whose ages ranged from their 50s to 70s.

The suspected gunman was later found dead by police in a vehicle. Police have not revealed a motive.

Although biographical details have not emerged for each of the victims, the Los Angeles coroner's office has released their names. Here's what we know so far.

My Nhan, 65

Among the victims so far identified is My Nhan, a 65-year-old whose family members described her as a regular at the Monterey Park dance studio where the incident took place.

A family statement posted to Twitter by journalist Tiffany Liou - whose husband was Ms Nhan's nephew - said that her death is "still sinking in".

"She spent so many years going to the dance studio in Monterey Park on weekends," the statement said. "It's what she loved to do.

"But unfairly, Saturday was her last dance."

The family's statement also noted that Ms Nhan - who they affectionately called "MyMy" - was the first person killed in the shooting.

Ming Wei Ma, 72

Mr Ma, one of the managers of the dance studio, was well known and beloved within the community for his role in their cultural lives.

"He was almost the centre of entertainment" in Monterey Park, said Qiang Bjornbak, a lawyer who knew Mr Ma and had taken lessons at his studio. She had last talked with Mr Ma in November, about Korean dancing.

"He was a very, very talented person," Ms Bjornbak said. "He was good at organising the dancing events, the singing events, the New Year's gala."

Mr Ma's family created a GoFundMe to cover the funeral expenses; they closed the page for donations by Tuesday after raising $45,000.

On Facebook, dance instructor Lauren Woods described Mr Ma as a key fixture of the studio.

"He was so adorable to me and I could tell he was the heart of Star Ballroom," Ms Woods said.

"So many dancers, teachers and organisers were connected with Ma and I personally will miss him dearly."

Diana Tom, 70

The family of Diana Tom, 70, said she died on Sunday after being taken to hospital in a critical condition, according to a statement seen by ABC News.

Ms Tom was remembered as a "hard-working mother, wife and grandmother who loved to dance".

"To those who knew her, she was someone who always went out of her way to give to others," the statement reads.

Xiujuan Yu, 57

Ms Yu's niece, Kathleen Fong, said after "days of uncertainty, anxiety, and waiting in worry, we received the news" that she was among the victims of the shooting.

She is survived by her three children and her husband, Ms Fong said. Ms Yu immigrated to the US from China in the early 2010s, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"She will never be able to witness what she dreamed of for all these years", Ms Fong wrote in a GoFundMe post. "It happened all too quickly - we never even got a chance to properly say goodbye."

The other victims identified by authorities in California include Lilian Li, 63, Valentino Alvero, 68, Muoi Ung, 67, Hong Jian, 62, Yu Kao, 72, Chia Yau, 76, and Wen Yu, 64.

A steady stream of mourners has visited the dance studio to pay their respects this week.

Several bouquets, candles and other tributes have accumulated in front of a gate. One bundle of roses came with a note: "Victims and families, you are in our prayers."

On Monday morning, a woman slowly approached the memorial and knelt down for a moment of silence, before placing a yellow bouquet of flowers on the pavement.

Jovita and Alfonso Matematico simply left whispered prayers for the victims. The married couple, both Catholics, had driven to Monterey Park from downtown Los Angeles to pay their respects.

"We went to church today, at 8 o'clock, and we prayed for them: may they rest in peace," said Jovita, 64.

Another mourner, 41-year-old Baptist pastor Meko Seto, told the BBC that the community has been left devastated by the shooting.

"People were sad, they were afraid," he said, recalling a flurry of texts he'd received. "A lot of our church members are from Monterey Park. They were shocked."

"We're mourning," Mr Seto said. "We never thought this would happen, in a million years."

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