Monterey Park mass shooting victims honored at prayer services, memorials and vigils

Mourners and community members came out Sunday and Monday to visit memorials set up to honor the 11 people killed and nine others injured in Saturday night’s mass shooting at the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park. A vigil honoring the victims was held Monday night, with another one planned Tuesday night.

My Twitter is super acting up so I’m starting fresh. A moment of silence is underway at a vigil in #MontereyPark to honor the 11 shooting victims. There is a memorial set up with the victims’ names as well. Follow this thread for updates. pic.twitter.com/u4oiPoKMH5

— Emily Holshouser (@emilyytayylor) January 24, 2023

Congresswoman Judy Chu, who represents Monterey Park, told the hundreds of vigil attendees at City Hall on Monday night that some of the surviving victims are intubated and remarked: “We in the community must step forward and help the victims.”

She said the community must move forward.

“We must support one another and work our way through this,” she said.

Torrance Mayor George Chen, who attended the vigil, joined Chu in praising the actions of Torrance police who on Sunday pulled over a motorist who turned out to be the Monterey Park mass shooting suspect. That man, Huu Can Tran, 72, took his own life in the van he was driving after the traffic stop.

“There was one Torrance police officer who doesn’t even have any connection to this city, but who kept his eyes open for a white cargo van. He had such sharp eyes that he alerted his superiors that that was the suspicious van,” Chu said.

“We mourn with you,” Chen said.  “We are so happy that the law enforcement community stepped up.”

Ann Lau, a community member who helped organize Monday’s vigil, said she wanted to bring people from various groups together to express solidarity as individuals and “look at each other as human beings,” regardless of their political views or ideas.

“We don’t want this to be normal and we don’t want this to be acceptable,” said Lau

Prayer services were held Sunday and memorials were set up outside the dance studio, with another a few blocks away at Monterey Park City Hall.

Balloons, candles and bouquets of flowers have lovingly been set out to remember the victims and to mourn a community forever changed.

“Community is very important to the Jewish faith, this affects all of us,” said local Rabbi Ralph Resnick, who came to visit the memorial at City Hall on Monday. “Our hearts go out to the families.”

For locals who lived close to the dance studio where the deadly violence broke out, the shooting rattled a close-knit community proud of its roots.

Yanet Grajeda, a Monterey Park resident, came to lay flowers at the memorial outside the dance studio. Her daughter’s grandmother lives just blocks away.

The parking lot behind her was filled with cameras and reporters.

“It hits home,” Grajeda said, tearing up. “It’s just closer and closer to where we live. You normally see it on the TV because it’s in other states, but this time, it’s actually here. It’s really sad.”

Katherine, another local who declined to provide her last name, came to the ballroom memorial with her father.

“We weren’t personally affected by it, but it’s tragic,” Katherine said. “I live around here. That night, I thought it was just fireworks.”

 

People gather at a community candlelight vigil at Monterey Park City Hall on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, to honor the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio that left 11 people dead and nine others wounded.
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

People gather at a community candlelight vigil at Monterey Park City Hall on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, to honor the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio that left 11 people dead and nine others wounded.
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

People gather at a community candlelight vigil at Monterey Park City Hall on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, to honor the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio that left 11 people dead and nine others wounded.
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

People gather at a community candlelight vigil at Monterey Park City Hall on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, to honor the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio that left 11 people dead and nine others wounded.
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Page Revuelta, 3, attends a community candlelight vigil with his parents Greg, who grew up in Monterey Park, and Marina at Monterey Park City Hall on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, to honor the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio that left 11 people dead and nine others wounded. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

A visitor places a card at the entrance to the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, CA Monday, January 23, 2023. A shooting took place at the site late Saturday which has now claimed the lives of 11 victims. The suspect, 72-year-old Hoo Can Tran was later found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a van in Torrance, CA. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo, second from right, joins others in prayer outside Monterey Park City Hall in Monterey Park on Sunday, January 22, 2023 for the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Dance Studio. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Lawanda Hawkins of Justice for Murdered Children brings balloons to place on Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park on Sunday, January 22, 2023 for the victims of the Star Dance Studio shooting. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Hannah Koester, 26, of Pasadena, left, embraces Lor-Shing Hsu, 29, of Alhambra during a prayer circle outside Monterey Park City Hall in Monterey Park on Sunday, January 22, 2023 to pray for the victims of the mass shooting at Star Dance Studio. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A man prays as he joins a group of religious leaders from all faiths during a prayer circle outside Monterey Park City Hall in Monterey Park on Sunday, January 22, 2023 to pray for the victims of the mass shooting at Star Dance Studio. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A group of religious leaders from all faiths hold prayer circle outside Monterey Park City Hall in Monterey Park on Sunday, January 22, 2023 to pray for the victims of the mass shooting at Star Dance Studio. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A group of pastors and others join in a prayer circle at the intersection of Garvey Avenue and N. Garfield Avenue in Monterey Park on Sunday, January 22, 2023 to pray for the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Dance Studio. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

People gather at a community candlelight vigil at Monterey Park City Hall on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, to honor the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio that left 11 people dead and nine others wounded.
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo, who was elected in 2020, joined community members in a prayer Sunday to honor the victims. He has been thrust into the spotlight as his city has made international news.

He was asked how he was doing, and how it felt for reporters from all over the world to descend on his city.

“It’s overwhelming,” Lo said, nearly breaking down in tears. “I owe it to my community. We owe it to our community to give them answers, and to make sure that the suspect will not be able to commit these crimes.”

The second vigil is set for Tuesday night, also at Monterey Park City Hall.

 

Join us for a vigil as we stand together in solidarity to honor those who have left us and to give strength to those who survived.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.

Monterey Park City Hall, 320 West Newmark Avenue.https://t.co/ONFUn9I0JZ#montereyparkstrong #mpkstrong pic.twitter.com/d1oINuFERD

— City of Monterey Park (@CityofMPK) January 24, 2023

Staff writer Mona Darwish contributed to this story.

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