A Filipino was among the fatalities in a mass shooting at a Lunar New Year celebration in a California dance hall, the Philippine Consulate general in Los Angeles confirmed Tuesday.
In a statement, the consulate general expressed “its shock and great sadness” over the mass shooting in Monterey Park on January 21 that killed 11 people, including 68-year-old Valentino Alvero, a US citizen of Filipino descent.
“Our prayers go out to the families of the victims and we mourn with them during this lunar New Year festival, which is supposed to be a time of gathering and celebration,” it said.
The consulate general said it is ready to assist the family of Alvero should they reach out for any help.
The family of Alvero said in a statement that they “became unwilling members of a community who has to mourn the loss of our loved ones due to gun violence.”
‘Loving father, life of the party’
The family urged the public to remember that Alvero “is more than just a headline or a news story.”
“He 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,” the statement read.
“He loved people and hearing about their lives and in return, he shared his own stories with so much gusto and enthusiasm that you couldn’t help but listen and laugh along with him. He loved ballroom dancing, he loved his community, and was the life of any party,” it added.
The family also said it was a “great travesty” that Alvero a devout Catholic did not receive last rites, and asked the public to pray for him and other victims of the mass shooting.
The 72-year-old suspect Huu Can Tran used a semi-automatic pistol in the rampage at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, killing men and women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Authorities are examining whether jealousy or a personal dispute was the motive of the shooting.
He then drove to another dance hall where police say only the “heroic” actions of a young man who wrestled the weapon off him prevented another slaughter.
Tran shot himself dead hours later as police moved in on his white van.
Less than 48 hours after the Monterey Park shooting, two new shootings rocked California, killing seven people.
The consulate general advised the Filipino community to exercise caution and continue being vigilant.
“Always monitor your loved ones’ and family members’ whereabouts. Immediately report any suspicious activities to local law enforcement and watch out for each other,” it said.