Fil-Am among those killed in California shooting
BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO WITH AFP
The Manila Times
THE Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Los Angeles reported that a Filipino American was among those killed in the January 21 mass shooting in Monterey Park in California. The PCG on Facebook identified the fatality as Valentino Alvero, 68, a US citizen of Filipino descent. He was killed when a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park. The suspect in the mass shooting, Huu Can Tran, 72, was later found dead in a strip mall parking lot Sunday. Initial reports showed that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The consulate has expressed “shock and great sadness over the mass shooting incident that took place in Monterey Park, California late in the night of January 21” or during the celebration of the Lunar Year. The Consulate General said it “understands his family’s desire for privacy and space during this time of unimaginable difficulty.” “Nevertheless, we are ready to assist them in whatever possible way should they reach out for any help we could give,” the PCG said. Detectives in southern California were still probing what drove an elderly Asian man to shoot dead 11 people gathered for Lunar New Year at a suburban dance hall on Saturday night — before taking his own life as police closed in. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Huu Can Tran, who had been arrested in 1994 for unlawful possession of a firearm, fired 42 rounds in the attack in Monterey Park. “What drove a madman to do this?” he said. Luna confirmed officers had been told Tran may have been known to some of his victims. News of a second mass shooting in California in less than 48 hours spread ripples of shock through the state, which has some of the strictest firearm laws in the US. “At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy upon tragedy,” tweeted Governor Gavin Newsom. Saturday night’s mass shooting was the worst in the United States since a teenage gunman in Uvalde, Texas killed 21 people at an elementary school last May. On Monday (Tuesday in Manila), a picture began to emerge of the culprit in Monterey Park, a man who, according to his marriage license, had immigrated from China, and who had been a regular at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in the past. Tran’s ex-wife told CNN the couple had met there two decades ago when he offered to give her informal lessons. The woman, who did not want to be named, said they married a short time later, but the relationship did not last, with the divorce finalized in 2006. She said Tran, who sometimes worked as a truck driver, was not violent, but could be impatient. A man who said he had previously known Tran said he would complain about dance teachers, who, he claimed, would say “evil things about him,” CNN reported. He was “hostile to a lot of people there,” the man told the broadcaster.