Who are the victims of Monterey Park massacre? 'Loving aunt' and 'dedicated son' among dead

Who are the victims of Monterey Park massacre? 'Loving aunt' and 'dedicated son' among dead
My Nhan (L), Ming Wei Ma, Diana Tom, Xiujuan Yu, Valentino Alvero have been identified as some of the victims of Monterey Park mass shooting (Clockwise R) (GoFundMe, @karmelkwan/Twitter)

MONTEREY PARK, CALIFORNIA: Huu Can Tran, 72, opened fire in a dance studio on Saturday night, January 21, killing 10 people and injuring at least 10 others. He was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a police standoff in Monterey Park. The victims of the horrific massacre have since been identified.

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The victims of the rampage include six women and five men between the ages of late 50s and mid-70s. The women who were gunned down have been identified as Hong Jian, 62; Lilan Li, 63; My Nhan, 65; Diana Tom, 70; Muoi Ung, 67, and Xiujuan Yu, 57. The male victims are Valentino Alvero, 68; Yu Kao, 72; Ming Ma, 72; Chia Yau, 76, and Wen Yu, 64.

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The shooting occurred about 10.22 pm at a dance studio near a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California, the sheriff's department said. Investigators searched the van after Tran was found dead and reportedly discovered "several pieces of evidence" linking him to the Monterey Park shooting and also to an incident in Alhambra, where bystanders had taken a gun from a man at a dance hall less than 20 minutes after the massacre. A handgun was also found inside the van.

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What we know about some of the Monterey Park victims 

My Nhan

My Nhan, 65, was one of the victims in the shooting, Sarah Ardalani, spokesperson for the Los Angeles County medical examiner's office, confirmed. Her family issued a statement on social media that said, "She spent so many years going to the dance studio in Monterey Park on weekends. It’s what she loved to do. But unfairly, Saturday was her last dance."

The statement by Nhan's niece, Fonda Quan, goes on to say that Nhan was a "loving aunt, sister, daughter and friend." "If you knew her you knew her warm smile and kindness was contagious," the statement said. "Mymy was our biggest cheerleader" The family also said they are"starting the Lunar New Year broken"

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A dance instructor from Lai Lai Ballroom & Dance in Alhambra, California, said Nhan was a frequent student at the second studio that was attacked. The dance instructor, Maksym Kapitanchuk, said Nhan had been one of his students since he began teaching after immigrating from Ukraine in 2009

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"It's unfair, dance was her life – as soon as she finished work, she would drive to Lai Lai to take group classes or to take private classes," Kapitanchuk told USA TODAY. "She would help out at so many different parties, and she would buy many, many tickets, and she would just give them out to her friends just so they can go enjoy it." Nhan had been dancing with her dance partner and friend, Mike, for several decades, Kapitanchuk said.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Nhan. "We start the new year broken, learning about the death of Mymy Nhan. She was one of ten people killed in the Monterey Park mass shooting. Mymy loved dancing at Star Ballroom Dance Studio for more than a decade. It was a weekend routine, and we never expected Saturday to be her last," the page reads. At the time this article was written, $29,960 USD had been raised of the $25,000 goal.

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Valentino Alvero

Valentino Alvero, 68, was "a loving father, a dedicated son, and brother, a grandfather who loved his three granddaughters fiercely, an uncle who loved his nieces and nephews like his own," according to his family's statement. The statement said Alvero loved ballroom dancing and his community.  He was also the life of any party" and a devout Catholic, according to the statement. 



 

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Ming Wei Ma

Ming Wei Ma, 72, reportedly attempted to stop the gunman before being shot dead. Witnesses said he was killed during his last act of selflessness. "According to the chat, he was the first to rush the shooter," said victim's friend Eric Chen, according to CBS News. "He was just caring, and other first, people first kind of person." "Heartbreaking and it's unthinkable that it would happen," Chen added. 

In a Facebook post, Lauren Woods, an instructor at the studio, wrote, "I taught a private yesterday and got to see Ma for the last time as he helped me find parking since the Monterey Park streets were packed in celebration to the Lunar New Year festivities. Ma then had a wonderful chat with dancers Jenny and Ray , expressing how much he enjoyed watching them dance."

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"I know some of you will see this as a close call. I’m personally thankful to have that last beautiful interaction I had with Ma before hearing this horrific news. I’m heartbroken. To the ones who were there and so many other dancers in our community, I’m so glad you got to meet and get to know Ma and his beautiful soul, at least once, before passing. I will always remember Mr Ma and the way we communicated to each other," Woods said.

Woods added, "His English was not great, but he’d always say, “My teacher! My teacher!” Always kiss my cheeks and say “Love You! Love you!” Full of hugs and physically pick me up sometimes. It was always so loving when he would do this. He was so adorable to me and I could tell he was the heart of Star Ballroom. So many dancers, teachers and organizers were connected with Ma and I personally will miss him dearly. Thank you those who took and found these photos."

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A GoFundMe page set up for Ma reads, "It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Ming Wei Ma, father of Ray Ma and Mary Ma. He was one of the ten people killed in the January 21, 2023 shooting in Monterey Park. He was the owner of Star Dance Studio and built a community that dearly loved and respected him for his kindness and liveliness." At the time of writing this article, $45,565 USD had been raised.

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Diana Tom

Diana Tom, 70, was celebrating the Lunar New Year with friends when the tragedy ocurred. “Diana was a hard-working mother, wife and grandmother who loved to dance," her family said in a statement. “To those who knew here, she was someone who always went out of her way to give to others.” 

Tom was rushed to LA County-USC Medical Center after suffering gunshots, but succumbed to her wounds. A GoFundMe set up for Tom says, "On behalf of Diana Tom, we, her family, condemn this senseless act of violence that has uprooted the lives of all the victims, their families and the entire API community at large. We honor and support all of those affected. Diana was a hard-working mother, wife and grandmother who loved to dance. On the night of January 21, Diana was at Star Dance celebrating the Lunar New Year by dancing with her friends. To those who knew her, she was someone who always went out of her way to give to others." At the time of writing this article, $8,188 USD had been raised of the $20,000 goal.

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Xiujuan Yu

Xiujuan Yu, 57, another victim of the massacre, was also celebrating the Lunar New Year with friends at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. Her GoFundMe page says, "On Saturday night, January 21, 2023, my aunt Xiujuan Yu fell victim to a mass shooting at the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California. What was meant to be a night out celebrating the Lunar New Year with friends ended up being a devastating and life-changing event for my family. After days of uncertainty, anxiety, and waiting in worry, we received the news that my aunt was indeed among the deceased at the incident. This sudden tragedy has struck my family, and despite our best attempts to mourn for her, we graciously ask the community for help in raising funds for her funeral at this time." $21,815 USD had been raised of the $30,000 goal at the time of writing this article. 

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