Only days after returning from California following weeks of destructive storms, Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Tuesday that she would be going back on Wednesday, this time to Monterey Park following a deadly mass shooting there, as well as the other shootings that have occurred in the state following Monterey Park.
On Saturday night, a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park during Chinese New Year celebrations, killing 11 and wounding 9. After the shooter, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, later attempted to attack another dance studio in nearby Alhambra only to be disarmed by bystanders, he fled, only to be discovered by authorities the next in Torrance. As authorities approached his car, Tran committed suicide. Both Tran and his motive are still being investigated.
“Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park,” President Joe Biden tweeted after the shooting. “I’m monitoring this situation closely as it develops, and urge the community to follow guidance from local officials and law enforcement in the hours ahead.”
Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park.
I’m monitoring this situation closely as it develops, and urge the community to follow guidance from local officials and law enforcement in the hours ahead.
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 22, 2023
Only a few days later, another mass shooting occurred in Half Moon Bay, a town in the Bay Area around 40 minutes from San Francisco. There, 7 people were killed and one injured at shooting at two nearby farms. The shooter, 66-year-old Chunli Zhao, was an employee of one of the farms and was apprehended alive two hours after the shootings in the parking lot of the Half Moon Bay’s San Mateo County Sheriffs Department substation. Zhao and his motive are also currently under investigation.
Following a third shooting in Oakland on Monday, which left one killed and seven others injured, President Joe Biden contacted Governor Gavin Newsom, Congresswomen Judy Chu (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis about the shooting and worked what else the federal government could do. This led to the decision to send Vice President Harris to California on Wednesday.
Harris to visit Monterey Park
“Our hearts are with the people of California,” said Biden on Tuesday. “The vice president’s going to be going out. I’ve been talking with Gavin Newsom and Judy Chu and Anna Eshoo and Hilda Solis, and we’re working out a number of things that we can and are going to be doing.”
White House Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre added, “We have more than lives lost in mass shootings, after mass shootings. The flags at the White House were already at half-mast in honor of those murdered in Monterey Park when we learned of the shooting in Half Moon Bay.”
“President Biden, like most Americans, believes that this is an urgent issue; that too many of our neighbors, colleagues, kids are losing their lives to gun violence. Over the last two decades more school-aged children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined.”
However, the response to Harris coming has been mixed. While some in Monterey Park think that Harris visiting will help the community heal and bring focus on the shooting, others have said that Harris’ visit would only make the event sting more.
“We’re already reeling from this,” said Al Sato, a Monterey Park resident who was only a few blocks away from Saturday’s attack, to the Globe on Tuesday. “We had a meeting for businesses in our building earlier today over the attacks, and everyone agreed that the city shutting down to allow Harris to visit would not be good. First of all, we really don’t want to relive this right now, and what do you think she’s going to do? Her presence will help say how big this was, but she’ll be doing it in front of a ton of cameras.”
“Second of all, huge parts of the city will be shut down tomorrow, and right now we need to recover, not have her give a speech while we all lose out on a lot here. We still can’t believe this really happened here. We don’t need her to make it worse. What we need is to remember on our own time and recover. We’re also afraid that she’ll use this as a platform to launch against guns and cutbacks and other things. The mood is apprehensive over this visit. That’s not something you want to feel when a national leader comes.”
While the Vice President’s itinerary is not yet known, it is expected that she will join in a mourning service in Monterey Park for at least some of her visit, with visits to the site of the shooting and to the hospital to visit victims and their families also possible.
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