Lunar New Year shooting in Monterey Park, CA

Charlotte Wilken, News Reporter

Following a Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California, gunfire erupted, leaving 11 people dead and nine injured

After the shooting, the suspect was found at a different dance studio where a man working at the front desk managed to disarm him and confiscate a semiautomatic pistol.

The following day, the suspect was found dead in a van in a parking lot. According to law enforcement, the investigation is focused on the suspect’s interactions between the two dance studios and jealousy over a relationship.

The weapon used during the rampage is thought to have been illegal. Sheriff of Los Angeles County Robert Luna has identified the weapon taken from the suspect at the the scene to be a “magazine-fed semi automatic assault pistol” with “an extended large capacity magazine” attachment.

The day after the shooting occurred, Governor of California Gavin Newsom met with Monterey Park leaders and those immediately affected by the tragedy. He tweeted, “No other country in the world is terrorized by this constant stream of gun violence. We need real gun reform at a national level.” 

Sophomore Jack Dorsey believes more gun ownership restrictions would help curtail gun violence. 

“This is a pretty unique American thing that has been happening,” Dorsey said. “The types of reform that [we] should support are longer waiting periods for people to own guns [and] more checks on specific things.”

Following the shooting, Whitman’s Intercultural Center sent out an email offering support to students regarding this tragedy and other violent acts that have taken place around the country.

Director of the Intercultural Center Tebraie Banda-Johns explained how he wants the Intercultural Center to be there as a resource for students.

“I just want to offer support for students who might be feeling frustration, anger [and] sadness,” Banda-Johns said. “Whatever you’re feeling, I want our Intercultural Center to be that source of support, peace and calm; [I want it to be] a space for students to come in, share and vent whatever emotions they have regarding this [violence].” 

Banda-Johns spoke about the impact of days that are supposed to be full of celebration taking a tragic turn on targeted Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

“It has cultural significance for the AAPI community, and so for that day of celebration to then be turned into a day of violence and sadness in such a short amount of time I think is a lot; it’s jarring,” Banda-Johns said. “At the Intercultural Center, we want to be able to engage in these conversations with folks who might have fears celebrating parts of their culture or parts of their identity.”

Banda-Johns shared that the Intercultural Center has not had discussions about gun reform related to these tragedies within the United States, but that it is something they can explore in the future.