Shocked Asian-American community mourns mass shootings in California

Asian Americans in California are reeling after two mass shootings in a matter of days that left 18 members of their community dead, and the suspected gunmen in both cases were older men of Asian descent.

The killings occurred in a span of just 48 hours, so close together that California Gov. Gavin Newsom was in a hospital meeting with victims of the first attack when he was brought out to brief him on the second.

“It’s said all the time: only in America,” a clearly exasperated Newsom told reporters Tuesday in Half Moon Bay.

“Only in the United States. Number 1 in possession of weapons. Number 1 in gun deaths. It’s not even complicated,” she said.

“What the hell is wrong with us, that we allow these weapons of war and high-capacity magazines on the streets and sidewalks?”

Another shooting occurred overnight in Washington state, where a gunman killed three people at a convenience store in what police say appeared to be random.

The carnage prompted President Joe Biden to renew calls for Congress to act quickly on an assault weapons ban. A group of senators Monday reintroduced a federal assault weapons ban and legislation that would raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons to 21.

Biden also said he would send Vice President Kamala Harris to California after the shootings.

“Our hearts go out to the people of California,” he said, calling the massacres “devastating.”

Investigators were still investigating the motives behind the two incidents, which stood out among the scourge of mass shootings in the United States both by the community affected (gun violence is generally considered rare among Asians and Asian Americans) and by age. of the suspects, 67. and 72.

The nonpartisan Violence Project says that 79% of mass shooters from 1966 to 2020 were under the age of 45. He says that only 6.4% of mass shooters at the time were Asian.

Monday’s bloodshed occurred at 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 Hispanics and Asians, were killed and that 67-year-old Half Moon Bay resident Chunli Zhao 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 co-workers,” he said.

“All the evidence we have points to a case of violence in the workplace.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a former co-worker had been granted a restraining order against Zhao for violent behavior.

“Mr. Zhao told me, today I am going to kill you,” Jingjiu Wang wrote in 2013 when the two worked together at a San Jose restaurant.

“Then he took a pillow and started covering my face and suffocating me.”

The small community of Half Moon Bay was struggling Tuesday to come to terms with the mass shooting.

A singing bowl held by a Buddhist monk was struck once by each of the seven people shot dead as residents gathered to mourn at a local church.

“This is a tragedy and it will happen in the New Year,” Aily Li, whose family owns the China House restaurant, told AFP.

Sophie Li, who works at Shiki Japanese Cuisine in the city, said the weapons were terrifying.

“Without a gun, we just argue. But if you have a gun, it gives you more power and then something will happen,” he said.

“You deal with people who carry a gun and you never know what’s going to happen. People got shot, right?”


That tragedy unfolded as detectives in Southern California were still investigating what led Huu Can Tran, 72, to gun down 11 people gathering for the Lunar New Year Saturday night at a suburban dance hall.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Tran, who had been arrested decades earlier for illegal possession of a firearm, fired 42 rounds in the Monterey Park attack.

“What led a madman to do this?” he said.

Luna confirmed that officers had been told that Tran may have been known to some of his victims.

The information on Tran remained unclear. CNN reported that she, according to her marriage license, had emigrated from China; the New York Times cited immigration documents saying he was a naturalized American citizen of Vietnamese origin.

A former friend described Tran as a vindictive loner.

“Two simple words that cover everything: he is a distrustful person. He distrusts the people around him. The second word is hate. He hates the people around him, especially if he thought someone was doing it wrong,” the friend said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“He was like, ‘Someday, I’ll get even with you, I’ll get even, I’ll get even.’

“I think his life was so miserable and hopeless that he chose that day to end his life and in the meantime he wanted people he didn’t like or hated to go with him,” the man said.

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