Monday, January 23, 2023

Monterey Park senior center opens as crisis response hub for victims’ families: How you can help

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MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (KABC) — The Monterey Park community feels heartache, sadness and anger after a mass ballroom shooting killed 10 and injured 10 others, but they are coming together to help the families of the victims.

The Langley Senior Citizen Center on Emerson Avenue has been transformed into a crisis response center for families and friends with the help of state and federal agencies.

On Sunday afternoon, officials told Eyewitness News that five families stopped by to speak to counselors for support.

“It was comforting and just cathartic just talking about it because we didn’t really process it too much between my husband and I, so it was good for us,” said Lenora Hall of Monterey Park.

The shooting late Saturday in the predominantly Asian American community cast a shadow over the New Year’s celebrations and sent a wave of fear through Asian American communities in the Los Angeles area.

The suspect was identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran. At an evening news conference, LA County Sheriff Robert Luna said the motive for the attack was unclear. Luna didn’t have the exact ages of the victims but said they all appeared to be in their 50s. Seven of the wounded remained hospitalized, he said.

Monterey Park is a small community of about 61,000 people and is predominantly Asian. The city hosted the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival this weekend, marking the beginning of the Chinese lunar calendar. The annual two-day street festival is well attended, with previous celebrations drawing up to 100,000 visitors daily, according to the city. Saturday’s events were scheduled to end at 9 p.m

A couple stopped by on Sunday and said they couldn’t find a dear friend who was planning to go to the ballroom dance. They feared she was one of the victims, but while at the center they were told they had stayed at home.

“I am very grateful,” they said. “I am very sad for the victims. It’s crazy, I don’t know what’s going on with the country. There are many sick people.”

The city of Monterey Park has since canceled all Lunar New Year events at the senior center to focus on helping those affected by the shooting. Some people have even given away foods like traditional Chinese Lunar New Year treats to bring a little peace to those affected.

“I think everyone’s scared,” Stephanie Tang said. “I mean, we’ve been getting text messages like, ‘Hey, don’t go to the festival,’ even though it’s already canceled, but people are so scared to just go at it right now think this would happen so close to a celebration.”

In the meantime, GoFundMe has created a verified fundraiser hub to help and is constantly updating with verified accounts.

You can donate through the Monterey Park Shooting: How To Help hub.

The link spans all social media channels, urging donations to victims and their families in need of help.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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