Fatigue and despair mount as California grapples with massacre

Monterey Park, California — California’s governor was pulled away as he met with shooting victims at a hospital and was briefed on a mass shooting on the other side of the state following the worst massacre in Los Angeles County history.

In Governor Gavin Newsom’s remarks on his mass shooting.

“I can’t keep doing this,” he told reporters early Monday in Monterey Park, where a dance studio killed 11 people. “It’s crazy to say the same thing over and over again.”

Yet Newsom spoke Tuesday in Half Moon Bay Third mass shooting in over a week In a state with some of the strictest gun laws and one of the lowest gun death rates in the nation.

Newsom, whose voice was at times angry and emotional, said he consulted notes he had used in past mass shootings: the 2018 killing of 12 at Thousand Oaks Country and Western bars; 3 dead, 17 injured; 2021 9 workers killed in San Jose rail yard.

“I started writing on Monterey Park,” Newsom said. “Now I have to write in Half Moon Bay.” What the hell is going on here? “

66-year-old farm worker charged with murder and attempted murder After eight people were shot, seven were killedcrime authorities said it was a case of workplace violence in a rich agricultural region between the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountains.

In Monterey Park, a 72-year-old gunman opened fire on Saturday night at a dance hall in an Asian American neighborhood that was celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve, killing 11 people and wounding nine others. The gunman later killed himself.

A week after at least two assailants shot dead a 16-year-old mother holding a 10-month-old baby and killed four others in a brazen attack on a farming community in central California, the case remains unsolved.

“Our hearts go out to the people of California,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday in a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders. “It’s been a tough few days.”

Biden pointed to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban, which he urged lawmakers to pass.

Newsom also called for stricter gun safety laws and specifically targeted high-capacity magazines — like the ones owned by dance studio shooters — and what he called “the damn weapons of war.”

“People keep saying: ‘Only in America,'” he said. “No. Number one in gun ownership, number one in gun deaths. It’s not even complicated.”

The recent shootings have moved California up five spots to 26th in the U.S. for the number of fatal mass shootings per capita since 2006, the report said. USA TODAY/AP/Northeastern University Massacre Database. The database only counts cases where at least four people were killed.

While California has the highest number of deadly mass shootings — 49, including the most recent three — it ranks 31st after adjusting for the nation’s most populous state, with nearly 40 million residents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists California as a 7th lowest gun death rate According to the latest statistics for 2020, the country ranks 20th in terms of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, and that’s not just limited to shootings.

With the back-to-back killings, detectives on both ends of the state are trying to answer a question that often goes unanswered in the face of senseless violence: Why?

Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna called ballroom shooter Huu Can Tran, 72, a “lunatic” and said investigators were looking into whether he had ties to the man shot dead at the Star Ballroom.

Tran fired 42 rounds at the dance hall popular with older Asian Americans. He then drove to another nearby dance hall, where an employee wrested a modified 9mm submachine gun-style weapon from him, Luna said.

Tran shot himself when police surrounded the van he was in on Sunday. A handgun was recovered from the van, which matched the description of the vehicle he used to leave the dance studio.

On Tuesday, piles of flowers, including dozens of yellow and white chrysanthemums, were left in front of the studio’s closed doors. Someone taped a piece of blue paper on a brick pillar next to the gate that read “Semiautomatic Rifles Banned,” with a Chinese translation underneath.

Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil at Monterey Park City Hall on Tuesday night. The victim’s name is engraved on the wooden heart. A woman helps her young daughter place flowers at the monument. “There are so many,” she said, her voice shaking. “We won’t have enough.”

There have been six mass killings in the United States so far this year, with the Monterey Park shooting the deadliest since May 24, when 21 people died at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Less than 48 hours after the Half Moon Bay killings, Chunli Zhao, 66, shot and killed five people on the mushroom farm where he worked, killing four others, authorities said. He then drove to a nearby farm where he used to work and shot and killed three others.

The victims were Asian and Hispanic, and some were immigrant workers.

One of the dead workers was Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50, his brother Servando Martinez Jimenez told The Associated Press. Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, he has lived in the US for 28 years.

“He’s a good guy,” Martinez Jimenez said in Spanish. “He was very polite and friendly to everyone. He never had a problem with anyone. I don’t understand why this happened.”

The ranch shooting was the largest mass killing in San Mateo County.

“In this county, we’ve never had so many deaths in one scene or one occurrence,” District Attorney Steve Wagstaff said.

Zhao was arrested after officers found him in his car in the sheriff’s precinct parking lot.

Eamonn Allen, a spokesman for the San Mateo County Sheriff, declined to answer whether Zhao had a criminal record, but said “there is no concrete indication that we believe he is capable of anything like this.”

This However, the San Francisco Chronicle reports According to court documents, Zhao was accused 10 years ago of threatening to slash a colleague’s head with a knife and separately trying to suffocate the man with a pillow.

Authorities said little about Tran, who briefly owned a trucking company in Monterey Park from 2002 to 2004, according to California business records.

Luna said he was arrested for illegal firearm possession in 1990 and has a limited criminal record. The sheriff could not immediately say whether the gun arrest would have barred him from possessing a weapon at a time when gun laws were different.

Tran used to frequent the ballroom and another he later targeted, and complained about the way he thought people treated him there, a man who described himself as an old friend told The Associated Press.

Tran was forever distrustful and paranoid, and often complained that people at the club didn’t like him because he wanted to avoid the media spotlight, according to the former friend, who requested anonymity to speak about Tran.

Hemet police spokesman Alan Reyes told The Associated Press. Tran did not return with the documents he had promised to provide.

On Monday, sheriff’s deputies from Los Angeles County searched Tran’s home in a gated senior community in Hemet, more than an hour’s drive from the site of the massacre. Officers found a .308-caliber rifle, an undisclosed amount of bullets and evidence he was making homemade gun suppressors, which muffle the sound of the weapon.

Newsom said he intentionally avoided the news conference in Los Angeles to meet with members of the community, those injured by the shooting and Brandon Tsay, the hero who disarmed Tran.

While he was in Monterey Park, a tearful mother turned around in her car, asking him to reassure her three daughters that everything would be fine. Her 8-year-old heard the gunfire and knew it wasn’t a firecracker. The mother said that she didn’t sleep at night and was afraid to go to school.

Newsom told the girl, “It’s going to get better.”

But in front of a crowd of dozens of politicians, law enforcement and reporters gathered in Half Moon Bay, he said he was relieved she didn’t make him lock her pinky finger and make a commitment like his own 8-year-old daughter. “Because I’m not sure.”

___

Rodriguez reported from Half Moon Bay and Meli from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporters Sophie Austin in Sacramento, Joshua Boak in Washington, Larry Fenn in New York, Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston and Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.