Lunar New Year turned tragic over the weekend in Monterey Park, a city in the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California that is among the most predominantly Asian American in the country.
A gunman entered a dance venue late Saturday night and opened fire, killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The man who the police say carried out the shooting — identified as Huu Can Tran, 72 — was found dead Sunday afternoon from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Law enforcement officials are investigating the details of the attack and the motive of the gunman. The police believe he attempted a second attack at a dance hall in nearby Alhambra, but his gun was wrested away from him and he fled. “We want to know how something like this, something this awful, can happen,” Sheriff Robert Luna of Los Angeles County said in a press briefing Sunday evening.
The shooting was the deadliest in the United States since the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, last May, when 19 children and two teachers were killed. And it was the second mass shooting in less than a week in California, after gunmen killed a family of six in Tulare County last Monday in what the police said was probably a gang-related killing.
Monterey Park, about seven miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is home to around 60,000 people, roughly two-thirds of whom are Asian American. It’s long been considered a mecca for Chinese immigrants, a place where they could find comfort in the food and language of their birth land while laying down American roots for their children, my colleagues report.
The streets were filled on Saturday with thousands of people enjoying a Lunar New Year festival that had resumed after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. The event drew people from across Southern California.
Representative Judy Chu, whose district includes Monterey Park and who served as the city’s mayor for three terms, said the attack “tore a hole through all of our hearts.” She said she had become a member of an unfortunate club: a civic leader who had to respond to a mass shooting.
“It has been happening on a daily basis now, and we can barely keep count of these mass shootings,” Chu said.
The advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks acts of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, said in a statement that “this tremendous act of violence” had occurred on “one of the most important days of the year for many Asian Americans.” This year, for the first time, Lunar New Year is an official state holiday in California.
But the attacks cast a shadow across many celebrations. Monterey Park canceled its plans for Sunday entirely, and law enforcement officials increased security at events elsewhere in the Los Angeles region. Other cities across the country — including San Francisco, Philadelphia, San Diego and Houston — said that they were also increasing the police presence at their Lunar New Year events as a precaution.
Jeff and Nancy Liu arrived at the dance studio in Monterey Park Saturday night to celebrate Lunar New Year, but what should have been a night of revelry turned into one of horrors, my colleague Edgar Sandoval reports.
Jeff Liu saw a man storm in with a gun and open fire. Two bullets grazed him, and he saw his wife collapse. He hasn’t seen her since.
The Lius’ daughter, Juno Blees, said she hoped that the reason her mother, who is 63, had not been located is that she forgot to bring her identification card to the dance hall. Blees said she visited the victim resource center set up by Monterey Park officials on Sunday, and was told to leave her contact information in case her mother was found.
“We are mentally preparing for the worst,” Blees told The Times.
My colleagues and I will continue reporting on the shooting today. You can follow our live coverage here.
What we’re eating
Crispy tofu and broccoli with ginger-garlic teriyaki sauce.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from Mickey McGovern:
“My son races at least once a year at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey County. The race lasts the weekend, so we head that way a few days ahead of time. That way we can hang out while he and his team prep the racecars. We like to stay in Pacific Grove. It’s a great little town on the ocean with a nice beach. There’s also access to Monterey and Cannery Row. The races are exciting — especially when my son wins, which he often does.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
A green-hued comet from the outer solar system is set to swing through Earth’s skies in the coming days for the first time in 50,000 years.
The comet will make its closest approach on Feb. 2, but you don’t have to wait until then to spot this infrequent visitor.
On Saturday, the night of the new moon and thus the darkest skies, the comet came close to Draco — the dragon-shaped constellation that runs between the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. Since then, the comet has been creeping along the dragon’s tail. And on Jan. 30, the comet will reside directly between the Big Dipper’s “cup” and Polaris, the North Star.
“Even with relatively modest binoculars, the powdery, fuzzy or smoky character of the ‘star’ ought to make it clear it’s a comet,” said E. C. Krupp, the director at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
Read more from The Times.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.
Briana Scalia and Maia Coleman contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.