Monterey Park, California:
Asian Americans reeled Tuesday after two mass shootings in California targeting members of their community that left 18 people dead — with the alleged shooters in both cases being elderly men of Asian descent.
The murders occurred in the space of just 48 hours — so close together that California Governor Gavin Newsom was in a hospital meeting with the victims of the first attack when he was pulled away to be briefed on the second.
“It is said all the time: only in America,” a clearly exasperated Newsom told reporters in Half Moon Bay on Tuesday.
“Only in America. Number one in gun ownership. Number one in gun deaths. It’s not even complicated,” he said.
“What the hell is wrong with us, that we allow these weapons of war and high-capacity clips on the streets and sidewalks?”
Another shooting took place overnight in Washington state, where a gunman killed three people at a convenience store, in an act that police said appeared to be random.
The massacre prompted President Joe Biden to reiterate the call for Congress to act quickly against a ban on assault weapons. A group of senators on Monday reintroduced a federal ban on assault weapons and legislation that would raise the minimum purchase age for assault weapons to 21.
Biden also said he would send Vice President Kamala Harris to California in the wake of the shootings.
“Our hearts are with the people of California,” he said, calling the massacres “devastating.”
Investigators were still investigating the motives behind the two incidents, which stood out among America’s scourge of mass shootings, both for the affected community — gun violence is usually seen as rare among Asians and Asian Americans — and for the age of the suspects, 67 and 72.
The nonpartisan Violence Project says 79 percent of mass shooters from 1966 to 2020 were under the age of 45. According to the report, only 6.4 percent of mass shooters at the time were Asian.
Monday’s bloodshed occurred on two farms around Half Moon Bay, a rural coastal community south of San Francisco.
San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said Tuesday that five men and two women — a mix of Hispanic and Asian — were killed, and Half Moon Bay resident Chunli Zhao, 67, was taken into custody.
A semi-automatic pistol was recovered.
“The only known connection between the victims and the suspect is that they may have been colleagues,” she said.
“All the evidence we have points to this being a case of workplace violence.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a former associate had a restraining order against Zhao for violent conduct.
“Mr. Zhao said to me, today I’m going to kill you,” Jingjiu Wang wrote in 2013 when the two worked together at a restaurant in San Jose.
“He then took a pillow and started covering my face and suffocating me.”
The small community of Half Moon Bay struggled to come to terms with the mass shooting on Tuesday.
A singing bowl held by a Buddhist monk was struck once for each of the seven people shot dead as residents gathered to mourn at a local church.
“This is a tragedy and will happen on the new year,” Ayly Li, whose family owns the China House restaurant, told AFP.
Sophie Li, who works at Shiki Japanese Cuisine in town, said guns were terrifying.
“Without a gun, we just fight. But when you have a gun, you get more power and something happens,” she said.
“You’re dealing with people carrying guns and you never know what’s going to happen. People were shot, weren’t they?’
That tragedy unfolded as detectives in Southern California were still investigating what prompted 72-year-old Huu Can Tran to shoot dead 11 people who had gathered Saturday night for Lunar New Year at a suburban dance hall.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Tran, who had been arrested decades earlier for unlawful possession of a firearm, fired 42 rounds during the attack in Monterey Park.
“What drove a madman to do this?” he said.
Luna confirmed that officers had heard Tran may have been known to some of his victims.
Information about Tran remained unclear. DailyExpertNews reported that he emigrated from China according to his marriage certificate; the DailyExpertNews cited immigration documents stating that he was a naturalized U.S. citizen of Vietnamese descent.
A former friend described Tran as a vengeful loner.
“Two simple words that cover the whole thing: He is a person of distrust. He distrusts people around him. The second word is hate. He hates people around him, especially if he thought someone was doing bad to him,” said the friend. to the Los Angeles Times.
“He’d say, ‘One day I’ll get back at you, take revenge.’
“I think his life was so miserable and desperate that he chose that day to end his life and meanwhile he wanted to get people he didn’t like or hate to come with him,” the man said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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