Categoria: Monterey Park Mass Shooting

Complete Text: President Biden’s Speech At Monterey Park On Gun Violence

President Joe Biden on Tuesday, March 14, traveled to Monterey Park to visit families of victims of the Jan. 21 mass shooting and to promote gun-control laws and a new executive order aimed at stemming violence nationwide.

While leaders and gun control advocates crowded inside the Boys & Girls Club of the San Gabriel Valley, many others lined streets outside to catch a glimpse of the president’s motorcade, and take in the presidential visit in the wake of the tragedy at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio that left 11 people dead.

Here is the complete text of Biden’s remarks, released Wednesday by the White House.

The Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel ValleyMonterey Park, California1:37 P.M. PDT, Tuesday, March 14Good afternoon.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  Please have a seat, if you have one.  (Laughter.)

Good afternoon.  Saturday, January 21st, 2023, Lunar New Year, a time to enjoy.  A ballroom dance studio, a place of happiness, friendship, and belonging.  People across backgrounds and generations celebrating their cultural roots and bonding through ballroom song and dance.

A place of refuge where immigrants have lived for years, supported new immigrants who just arrived, becoming not just friends but family.

But as we all saw, a day of festivity and light turned into a day of fear and darkness.  A holiday of hope and possibilities marked by horror and pain.  Vibrant dances and music replaced by vigils and memorials.  Eleven souls taken.  Nine injured.  Private mourning made public.

That sense of safety shattered.  Survivors who will always carry the physical and emotional scars.  Families left behind who will never be the same.

One of the worst mass shootings in California history.  A tragedy that has pierced the soul of this nation, here in Monterey Park, in the San Gabriel Valley, the heart of the Asian American community.

My dear friend, Judy Chu, former Mayor of Monterey Park and your Congresswoman and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific [American] Caucus.

Senator Alex Padilla, a champion for this community and the entire state.

Our good friend, Supervisor Hilda Solis, and all elected officials, law enforcement, first responders, faith leaders, community members all here today.

You’ve shown up for this community, and I know you always will.

To the families of victims who spend time — I get a chance to meet with today and whom Vice President Harris spent time with a few weeks ago, I’m here on behalf of the American people to mourn with you, to pray with you, to let you know you’re loved and not alone.

Every case is different, but I know what it’s like.  I know what it’s like to get that call.  I know what it’s like to be told.  I know what it’s like to lose a loved one so suddenly.  It’s like losing a piece of your soul.  It’s like a black hole in your chest you feel like you’re being sucked into.

Suffocating, hardly able to breath.  The anger.  The pain.  The depths of the loss so profound it’s hard to explain.  The suddenness tends to magnify the grief.

And as time passes, the shock and numbness slowly make way for the sobering reality of their absence.

That empty chair at the dinner table.  The birthdays, the anniversaries, the holidays without them.

Everyday things, small things, the details you miss the most.  The scent when you open that closet door.  The park you go by that you used to stroll in.  The morning tea you shared together.  The bend of his smile.  The perfect pitch of her laugh.

As Judy shared with me, this is a tight-knit community with intergenerational households and deep reverence and respectfor its elders.  A community that’s opened its heart and its homes to friends and neighbors, and stood strong throughout the pandemic as anti-Asian hate crimes rose.

A community that in the face of horrific tragedy has become a symbol of hope and resilience.  Pushing forward together, healing together.

People from all faiths and backgrounds rallying to show their love and support, raising money for funeral costs and memorials, providing counseling and translation services to the victims’ families.  Providing and proving that even with heavy hearts we have unbreakable spirits.

As a nation, remember them: immigrants from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan — all of whom found a home in America.

Mr. Ma, age 72.  A pillar of the community.  A beloved manager and dance instructor at Star Ballroom.  He’d walk patrons to their cars at night.  Helped new immigrants find jobs.  His children and grandchildren will carry on his legacy in the spirit of one of his favorite Chinese proverbs, “Cherish the people in front of you.”  “Cherish the people in front of you.”

Andy Kao, 72.  “Mr. Nice” for his kindness, his positivity, his infectious smile.  A free spirit always ready to lend a helping hand.  He died shielding his dance partner.

Xiu Juan Yu, 57.  Devoted mom, wife, sister.  A woman of faith.  Always there to help others bringing food and newspapers to family members who had trouble walking.  Always — always working tirelessly with her husband to build a future for their three children.

Nancy Jian, 62.  Known as “Sister Sunshine.”  She loved to play cards, piano, and a weekly volleyball game.  Always sharing her homegrown plants and vegetables with neighbors and friends.

A dedicated mom married nearly 40 years — a husband and wife who were always together, even in their last dance.

Valentino Alvero, 68 years old.  A servant of God.  Life of the party.  Storyteller who made the whole room laugh.  A man devoted to his children and his grandchildren.

Mymy Nhan, 65.  Bedrock of her family and friends.  Eternal optimist.  Avid dancer who’d visit the studio every weekend, often leaving snacks behind for her classmates.  She radiated positive energy through her laughter, her kind words, and her smile.

Muoi Dai Ung, 67.  Refugee.  A community builder.  A cherished friend, known for her kindness, her sweetness, her generosity.  Her beloved family, the center of her world.

Diana Tom, 70.  Devoted daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother who loved to sing karaoke.  A giver and an adventurer who loved to explore new foods and travel the world.

Charles Yau, 76.  Grateful.  Reflective.  Believed in living to the — life to the fullest.  He constantly showed his family and friends and showered them with warm words of encouragement, hope, and love.

[Wen]-Tau Yu, 64.  A lifelong learner, he retired as a business manager and was pursuing a second career as a pharmacist while caring for his elder mother — elderly mother.  A man beloved by his wife, children, and friends for his compassion, his determination, and his wisdom.

Lily Li, 63.  A matriarch with absolute strength, optimism, and grace.  Her daughter wrote, “Stolen is the grandmother whose granddaughter fell asleep many nights nestled between her loving arms.  Taken away is the opportunity for her grandson to feel her love and warmth.”

All of them lived lives of love, sacrifice, and service for their families, for their community.  They represent a bigger story of who we are as Americans, embodying the simple truth that our diversity — our diversity is the strength of this nation.

We saw that strength in Maria Liang, owner of Star Ballroom, who I want to thank for pouring her heart into creating a warm and welcome space to bring the community together, especially seniors.

And we saw that strength in Brandon Tsay, who met me at the airport, whom Jill and I have gotten to know.  Twenty minutes after the rampage at Star Ballroom, Brandon saw the same shooter walk into his family’s own dance studio just two miles away, pointing a gun at him.  In an instant, he found the courage to act and wrestled the semi-automatic firearm away.

Brandon saved lives.  He protected the community.

At Half Moon Bay, just two days later — (applause) — you’ve got it.  (Applause.)

Brandon, stand up.  (Applause.)

At Half Moon Bay, just two days later, we saw heroism from police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who rushed into the danger to save lives.

As many of you know, Jill and I invited Brandon as our guest at the State of the Union message because we wanted the country to know all of you — not just Brandon, all of you.  The character of this community.  The faith you have in this community.  The pride.  We see across — we see it in you across all of American life.

Just this week, a film about resilience and power of the Asian American immigrant family made history at the Oscars — (applause) — echoing the heart of so many in this community.

But we also hear a message we’ve heard too often, including two years ago this week, after the spa shooting at the Atlanta — in the Atlanta area: Enough.  Do something.

We remember and mourn today, but I am here with you today to act.

Last year, after the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, I signed into law, after being in both places, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun safety law in almost 30 years.

That was in addition to me signing more executive actionsto reduce gun violence than any of my predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

Today, I’m announcing another executive order that will accelerate and intensify this work to save more lives more quickly.

First, this executive order helps keep firearms out of dangerous hands, as I continue to call on Congress to require background checks for all firearm sales.  (Applause.)  And in the meantime — in the meantime, my executive order directs my Attorney General to take every lawful action possible — possible to move us as close as we can to universal background checks without new legislation.

I just — it’s just common sense to check whether someone is a felon, a domestic abuser, before they buy a gun.

The executive order also expands public awareness campaigns about the “red flag” orders — the laws — which my son, when he — before he died — Attorney General of Delaware — was a great proponent of it and instituted it.  So more parents, teachers, police officers, health providers, and counselors know how to flag for the — a court that someone is exhibiting violent tendencies, threatening classmates, or experiencing suicidal thoughts that make them a danger to themselves and others and temporarily remove that person’s access to firearms.

And it promotes — this executive order — safe storage for firearms, something every responsible gun owner agrees with.

The second thing it does — the executive order ramps up our efforts to hold the gun industry accountable.  It’s the only outfit you can’t sue these days.  It does that by calling out for an independent government study that analyzes and exposes how gun manufacturers aggressively market firearms to civilians, especially minors, including by using military imagery.

And it directs the Attorney General to public release — publicly release Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fam- — and Firearms inspection reports of firearms dealers who were cited for violation of the law.  (Applause.)  That way, policymakers can strengthen laws to crack down on these illegal gun dealers and the public can avoid purchasing from them.

Third, the executive order improves federal coordination to support victims, survivors, and their families and communities affected by mass shootings the same way FEMA responds to your natural disasters in California and all around the nation.  And it will help folks recover and build after wi- — that — they help folks recover and build after wildfires and superstorms and droughts.

For example, we need to provide more mental health support and grief — for grief and trauma — (applause) — and more financial assistance when a family loses the sole breadwinner or when a small business shuts down due to a lengthy shooting investigation.

There’s more in this executive order, but I’m not stopping there.

Last week, I laid out in my budget that we invest more in safer communities and expand access to mental health services for those affected by gun violence.  (Applause.)

Congressional Republicans should pass my budget instead of calling for cuts to these services or defunding the police or abolishing the FBI, as we hear from our MAGA Republican friends.

But let’s be clear: None of this absolves Congress the responsibility — from the responsibility of acting to pass universal background checks, eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability.  (Applause.)

And I am determined once again to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  (Applause.)  I led that fight in — to ban them in 1994.  In the 10 years that law was in place, mass shootings went down.

Our Republicans friends let it expire, and it — and 10 years later, and mass shootings tripled since then.  Tripled.

So let’s finish the job.  Ban assault weapons.  Ban them again.  Do it now.  Enough.  Do something.  Do something big.  (Applause.)

Folks, let me close with this.  Scripture says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  A lot of us have been there.

As we gather here today, I know your hearts are broken, but I know your spirits are strong.

And as you remember and heal, I know the light of your loved one is once again going to lead you forward.

It takes time.  I tell everyone — at least it did with me — it takes time.  But I promise you — I promise you the day will come when the memory of your loved one brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.  The tear will never fully go away.  But when you had that smile first (inaudible), that’s when you know — that’s when you know you’re going to make it — you’re going to know you’re going to make it.

And my prayer for all of you is that day will come sooner than later, but I promise you it will come.

God bless you all.  I admire you so damn much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)President Joe Biden

1:56 P.M. PDT

Biden Lands At LAX, On His Way To Monterey Park To Unveil Gun Control Order

President Joe Biden is now in Los Angeles and on his way to Monterey Park, where he will meet with those most impacted by the Jan. 21 mass shooting, and where he will unveil an executive order that officials say will go as far as possible without Congressional legislation to encourage universal background checks on gun purchases.

Air Force One touched down at LAX at 12:36 p.m., where Biden was greeted by a delegation of local elected representatives, including L.A. Mayor Karen Bass and Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old San Marino man hailed as a hero, who disarmed the Monterey Park gunman before another shooting could happen at a second dance studio.

President Biden greeting Tsay.

— Christina Merino (@christinam_love) March 14, 2023

President Joe Biden will be arriving to a gloomy and rainy L.A. today. Later he will be will visiting Monterey Park to discuss his efforts to reduce gun violence and is expected to sign a new executive order aimed at reducing gun violence. @ladailynews

— Christina Merino (@christinam_love) March 14, 2023

It’s a rainy morning here in Monterey Park where President Biden is scheduled to speak later this afternoon.

— Kaitlyn Schallhorn (@K_Schallhorn) March 14, 2023

He is being flown by helicopter to Monterey Park, where he will meet with families and the owner of Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where amid the city’s Lunar New Year celebration, a gunman killed 11 people.

The massacre has shaken the city, known for its diversity, its culinary destinations and peace. While life has gotten back to some semblance of normal, the memory is still fresh and businesses continue to feel the impact of the tragedy as customers haven’t fully come back to the rattled city.

But as it emerges from the shooting, leaders are hopeful that the federal government will help bolster mental health resources and establish anti-violence reforms that reduce the chance of such a tragedy ever happening again.

Two Weeks Later, What We Know — And Still Don’t Know — About Monterey Park Shooter

Regulars at Monterey Park’s Star Ballroom Dance Studio were line-dancing to a catchy version of the Chinese ballad “Light Rain in March” at around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, when a series of rapid pops rang out, signaling the start of one the most horrific chapters Los Angeles County history.

At first, some patrons thought the sound was that of firecrackers from a Lunar New Year celebration outside the ballroom. But then bloodied dancers began to collapse on the wooden floor.

Those who were fortunate to survive the onslaught cowered under tables or hid in a back room. Some watched as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, a bespectacled, disgruntled former dance instructor in a distinctive black-and-white toboggan cap who had last visited Star Dance more than five years ago, sprayed the venue with 42 bullets from a semi-automatic pistol.

When the five-minute rampage ended, 10 people lay dead while 10 more were wounded. One of the patrons later succumbed to injuries, bringing the body count to 11.

Fleeing the Star Dance, Tran’s fury was unquenched.

He quickly drove about two miles to Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, but was blocked from entering by the owners’ son, 26-year-old Brandon Tsay, who heroically wrestled his gun away during a fierce struggle.

Tran ran off and remained at large for more than 12 hours until police pulled over his white van with a stolen license plate in a Torrance strip mall parking lot. As officers closed in, Tran fatally shot himself in the head with a Norinco 7.62×25-millimeter pistol.

Authorities have not offered an explanation as to Tran’s whereabouts between the time of the shooting and his subsequent suicide or a motive for the crime.

“What drove a mad man to do this? We don’t know, but we intend to find out,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna vowed just after the shootings.

In the two weeks since the slaughter, authorities still can’t answer that question. Details have trickled out about Tran’s troubled life along with delusions and paranoia that might have pushed him to commit the largest-ever mass shooting in Los Angeles County. But much of it is speculation.

So far, here’s what we definitively know — and still don’t know — about the gunman.

A divorced immigrant Tran submitted a naturalization petition to the U.S. Department of Justice in 1990 indicating he was born in 1950 in Vietnam.

However, he immigrated from China, according to a copy of his marriage license provided by his ex-wife to CNN. The couple divorced in 2006 and there is no indication they had any children. Information was not immediately available regarding when Tran came to the U.S.

Tran’s former wife, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the case, told CNN she met Tran about 20 years ago at Star Dance, where he gave her free dance lessons. The couple was apparently smitten and married soon after.

However, Tran was a taskmaster on the dance floor. The woman said that while Tran wasn’t violent, he became angry if she missed a step while dancing because it made him look bad, according to CNN.

Business owner and landlord Tran formed Tran’s Trucking Inc. in 2002 and listed himself as chief executive officer, However, the company was dissolved two years later with no assets.

Tran also dabbled in real estate, renting out his home on Manor Way in San Gabriel, while continuing to live on the property.

A former tenant, who doesn’t want to be identified to avoid public exposure, described Tran, who visited Star Dance nearly every evening, as distrustful, angry and delusional, believing dance instructors there were jealous of him. A friend said Tran believed instructors said “evil things” about him, according to CNN.

But authorities said Tran had not been to Star Dance in at least five years, suggesting that if he held a grudge, he carried it for a long time.

The tenant said that after Tran sold his home, they moved into an apartment in Alhambra, but had a falling out over the rent security deposit. He eventually won a judgment against Tran for $700.

Vigilante and crime victim Prior to the Star Dance massacre, Tran was barely a blip on police radar.

His only documented arrest occurred in 1990, when he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm in San Gabriel after attempting to chase down a man who stole beer from a liquor store.

Tran purported to be a frequent crime victim as well.

He reported to San Gabriel police in 1992 the sister-in-law of the married woman he was dating threatened to have a Taiwanese gang kill him if he didn’t end the relationship and likely planted 49 shotgun shells in his yard to intimidate him. Investigators couldn’t prove the allegations and closed the case.

Seven years later, Tran notified San Gabriel police that he had received numerous calls from someone who did not say anything when he answered the phone. In the police report, Tran listed his occupation as “dancing instructor/self-employed.”

Conspiracy theorist and gun aficionado More recently, Tran visited the Hemet police station on Jan. 7 and Jan. 9, claiming his family had engaged in fraud and theft and more than a decade ago tried to poison him. He promised to return to the station with documentation to prove his allegations, but never came back.

When law enforcement officers searched Tran’s residence at The Lakes at Hemet West mobile home park hours after the Star Dance shooting they made an ominous discovery, recovering a .308-caliber rifle, items for manufacturing firearm suppressors and a large amount of ammunition.

It’s still unclear how Tran obtained the weapons.

Authorities have not released information detailing Tran’s trip from Hemet to Monterey Park to carry out the attack. It’s also unknown if the massacre was spontaneous or meticulously planned. However, it seems that Tran may have had an escape plan, stashing a motorcycle near the dance studio as an alternative getaway vehicle.