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Vice President Harris to travel to Monterey Park in wake of mass shootings

A woman who identified herself as Shally and said her dance partner died in Saturday’s shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, pays her respects at a makeshift memorial outside the dance hall on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 in Monterey Park, California. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Monterey Park on Wednesday to honor the victims of one of the three mass shootings that have left her home state reeling this week.

Harris will lay a wreath at a memorial in honor of the 11 people killed by a gunman at a dance studio during a Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday night. She will meet with victims’ families and Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old worker who disarmed the gunman at a second dance club.

Huu Can Tran, 72, walked into the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park and opened fire, killing 11. He then went to a second club, in Alhambra, where Tsay wrestled him to the ground and took Tran’s gun.

Police think jealousy might have been the motive for the attack but emphasize that their investigation is continuing. Tran entered the Monterey Park dance hall around 10:20 p.m. and sprayed bullets from a 9 mm MAC-10 handgun as frightened patrons ducked for cover. Authorities recovered at least 42 spent shell casings at the scene.

Less than two days later, as the community grieved at a candlelight vigil, seven more people were killed in a pair of shootings in Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County. A 67-year-old man is suspected of opening fire at two rural farms about a mile apart on Monday, shooting some of the victims in front of children who lived nearby and had recently been released from school. The shooting suspect, identified as Chunli Zhao, was believed to work at one of the farms. Police have not revealed a motive in those shootings.

It’s unclear whether Harris or President Joe Biden will travel to Half Moon Bay this week.

Last week, six people were found fatally shot inside a home in Goshen, California. Police believe those killings could be tied to organized crime.

Biden will speak on the string of shootings “in the upcoming days,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday.

The series of mass shootings prompted renewed talk of gun control on Capitol Hill, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., introduced a federal assault weapons ban on Monday that would raise the minimum purchase age for assault weapons to 21. The measure is unlikely to become law. It does not have enough support to survive a Senate filibuster and would face stiff resistance in the Republican-led House of Representatives.

Biden issued a statement praising the Feinstein-Cicilline bill just before news broke of the Half Moon Bay shooting. In a statement released Tuesday morning, Biden again called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban.

“Even as we await further details on these shootings, we know the scourge of gun violence across America requires stronger action,” Biden said. “I once again urge both chambers of Congress to act quickly and deliver this Assault Weapons Ban to my desk.”


© 2023 Los Angeles Times

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