Authorities Find “Van of Interest” Tied to the Suspect of the Monterey Park Shooting

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LA Times

The vehicle of the suspected Monterey Park shooting is currently being investigated by the police.

Kylie de Best, Editor-in-Chief

On January 21, 2023, there was a shooting at two dance studios in Monterey Park, California near where roughly a hundred thousand people gathered to celebrate the start of the two-day Lunar New Year Festival. This was the first Lunar New Year event this area has had in roughly two and a half years due to the pandemic. The shooting took place at around 10:22 p.m. in the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue at Dance Star Studio, leaving five women and five men dead at the scene (LA Times). Roughly twenty minutes later, the suspect “with a firearm walked into another dance hall in the neighboring suburb of Alhambra” (LA Times). Though it is uncertain if the two incidents are connected, police have now come across a white van that matches the description given of the suspect’s van.

The van was found in Torrance, California, and the man driving the van was pulled over by the police in a Tokyo Central parking lot. The officers and those reporting on the news suspected that he is now dead after observing no movement in the van and reportedly hearing the driver shoot himself during the standoff. At the moment, officers are unsure what the motive of the shooter was, or if the shooting was connected to the festival. Due to concern about what is in the vehicle, three helicopters and a bomb squad surrounded his van. 

As someone who celebrates Lunar New Year, hearing about this shooting was heartbreaking in the sense that a holiday supposed to be filled with joy and community was terrorized by violence and death.”

— Anonymous

In the year of 2023 alone so far, the United States has already had 38 mass shootings, more than the country has ever experienced in the first month of the year, and continues the trend of the decade-long record for the most mass shootings in the month of January (Forbes). Being all too familiar with hearing news of mass shootings, and this one in particular taking place on such an important day, Anonymous shares “as someone who celebrates Lunar New Year, hearing about this shooting was heartbreaking in the sense that a holiday supposed to be filled with joy and community was terrorized by violence and death. It is infuriating to me that certain people will still advocate for looser gun restrictions when events such as these continue to happen.”

At the moment, authorities do not want to release the name of the suspect due to concerns of it complicating the situation and making it harder for him to get caught. There are other resources that were shared to the public though, such as photos that were released of him earlier today, with a description of being “an adult Asian man, about 5 foot, 10 inches and weighing 150 pounds” (LA Times). He was also wearing a black leather jacket, beanie, and gloves (LA Times). 

Cara Tang (12), a student at YLHS who celebrates Lunar New Year, shares her reaction to hearing this news, saying “for me, it is tragic that it even happened, but it’s worse on Lunar New Year because it’s such an important holiday in my culture. This shooting does add some paranoia for when I go out later today to celebrate since who knows if there will be more violence towards Asians today or not. However, despite this tragedy (and condolences to those who lost their lives), I hope Lunar New Year celebrations still go on since it’s such a special day in my culture.”

 To help those affected in the community, there is now a victim resource center at the community’s Langley Senior Center. Here, workers will work to help people find their loved ones who were at the dance studio where the shooting was, and psychological services will also be provided (CNN).