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'Horrendous news' | San Diegans reflect on Monterey Park mass shooting

San Diego's large Asian community was deeply affected by the Monterey Park shooting, where 11 people were killed at a dance studio during a Lunar New Year event.

SAN DIEGO — People all over the country are reacting to the Monterey Park shooting, including here in San Diego.

San Diego's large Asian community was deeply affected by the Monterey Park shooting, where 11 people were killed at a ballroom dance studio during a Lunar New Year celebration.

Not only did it happen on the eve of one of their most sacred holidays, but it also came after years of violent attacks.

"For me, I'm thinking what is the cause of this," said one San Diego resident.

The mass shooting has left people feeling confused and shocked.

Some wonder if anything could have prevented it from happening in the first place.

"It's a tragedy, and I think the political parties need to work on it," said one San Diego resident.

The shooting has once again led to questions about gun control and race.

Though the gunman has since been identified as a 72-year-old Asian man, and his motive is still unknown, the shooting happened at a dance hall where people were celebrating the Lunar New Year in a community where 65 percent of the population is Asian.

"Even without knowing what the motive might have been, I think the most immediate reaction that many of us had was on the eve of a major holiday, and following years of this uptick in anti-Asian hate, it’s gonna create a lot of nervousness, discomfort,” said Kent Lee, a San Diego city councilman representing District 6.

While this shooting sparked fear in some, he feels the best way to overcome it is by showing solidarity.

"We have celebrations continuing throughout the next couple of weeks and what we would wanna share with folks is to encourage them to take part in those celebrations still, to recognize the importance of this period, and also take this opportunity to connect as a community," said Lee.

Regarding safety, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit tweeted that while there are no known threats here, police presence will be increased at upcoming Lunar New Year events.

"I think during this time we very appreciate allies," said Justin Zhu, Executive Director of Stand With Asian Americans.

The national organization was founded nearly two years ago after the Atlanta spa shootings, which left six Asian women dead.
He, too, hoped people would unite over this latest tragedy, whether by attending a Lunar New Year celebration or a vigil to honor the victims.

He also suggests checking in with your Asian friends and donating to a Go Fund Me page to help the victims and their families if you can.

“We've partnered with several Asian non-profits to launch a fund for the survivors and the victims called the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims fund on Go Fund Me, so if you'd like to contribute, if you'd like to show your support, feel free to go on go fund me and donate to this fundraiser,” said Zhu.

WATCH RELATED: Latest developments from the Monterey Park shooting scene

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