One year after Monterey Park shooting, grief and healing continue

John Tom, Ronald Tom and Ann Wang visit Monterey Park Fire Station 61.
John Tom, Ronald Tom and Ann Wang visit Monterey Park Fire Station 61 to thank the first responders who tended to Diana Tom after the 2023 Monterey Park shooting.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It’s Monday, Jan. 22. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

One year after Monterey Park shooting, grief and healing continue

One year ago Sunday, a night that began with joyful dancing turned to terror and violence for a community celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Eleven people were killed and nine injured when a gunman opened fire at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park. The man targeted a second dance studio in neighboring Alhambra about 20 minutes later but was thwarted by Brandon Tsay, who wrestled the gun from the shooter before he could fire.


The gunman, later identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, fled the scene. The following day, he killed himself as police approached his van in a Torrance strip mall.

The 11 people he killed in Monterey Park were all Asian Americans, ranging in age from 57 to 76. Their names:

  • Ming Wei Ma
  • Mymy Nhan
  • Diana Man Ling Tom
  • Xiujuan Yu
  • Valentino Marcos Alvero
  • Yu Lun Kao
  • Hongying Jian
  • Wen Tau Yu
  • Chia Ling Yau
  • Muoi Dai Ung
  • LiLan Li

The mass shooting rippled through the San Gabriel Valley, home to many residents of Asian heritage. About 65% of Monterey Park residents identify as Asian, according to U.S. census data.

Times reporter Summer Lin spoke with survivors, victims’ families and first responders, who shared their journeys of grief and healing over the past year.

The family of Diana Man Ling Tom recently met with the firefighters who tended to her wounds and took her to the hospital last year. Loved ones were able to say their goodbyes before she died, and they expressed their gratitude to first responders for making that possible.

“For most survivors of a mass shooting, terrorist bombing or other tragedy, anniversaries only revive the pain and reawaken the heartache of lost family and friends,” Summer wrote this weekend. “For many, keeping active helps them move forward.”

Lloyd Gock was dancing at the Star Ballroom that night and survived by hiding behind a table when the gunman opened fire. He’s kept himself vocal and busy, forming a support group for other survivors, lobbying for gun control in Washington and fighting against the stigma of mental health issues in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.


He recounted to Summer something he told fellow survivors. They all have two birthdays now: “You have the day you were born, and you have Jan. 21, 2023.”

In the year since the shooting, Monterey Park leaders have passed rules to limit gun sales. State lawmakers passed (and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed) several gun control laws, including one that bars licensed owners from carrying in many public places. The ban is facing legal challenges.

In a statement, President Biden marked the one-year anniversary of the “heinous” shooting and a separate mass shooting three days later in Half Moon Bay in which seven were killed.

He noted the legislative efforts made in California to curb gun violence but said Congress needs to step up too.

“It’s long past time we banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, ended immunity from liability for gun manufacturers, passed a national red flag law, enacted universal background checks and required safe storage of guns,” Biden said.

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And finally ... a great photo

Show us your favorite place in California! Send us photos you have taken of spots in California that are special — natural or human-made — and tell us why they’re important to you.

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(Deb Parkins)

Today’s great photo is from Deb Parkins of Los Angeles: Tower Bridge in Sacramento. Deb writes that it’s “a golden gem dedicated in 1935 but gaining its color in 1976, America’s bicentennial year. ... The bridge appears in the river city landscape like a proud beacon, evoking my fond memories of growing up in our state capital.”

Have a great day, from the Essential California team


Ryan Fonseca, reporter
Laura Blasey, assistant editor

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