SAN DIEGO — The impact of a mass shooting in Monterey Park that killed 10 people and injured 10 others is being felt in San Diego.
Local leaders are speaking about the horrific event that took place almost at the start of the Lunar New Year.
“Our spirit is hurt but our spirit is not broken,” said Virginia Loh-Hagan, president of San Diego State University’s Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Resource Center.
Loh-Hagan got emotional talking about the shooting.
“I mean, I’m heartbroken and it’s sad because I do think that our community has gone through so much with escalating anti-Asian hate these past few years,” Loh-Hagan said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating why a gunman walked into a dance studio in Monterey Park and gunned down 20 people, killing five men and five women.
The shooting happened near where thousands of people gathered to ring in the start of the Lunar New Year, which is known as the most important and festive holiday in Asian cultures.
“It hurts, it hurts,” Loh-Hagan said. “We were right to celebrate our culture and to celebrate our heritage without fear, and I think it’s important for us to continue to celebrate Lunar New Year, which is a time of new beginnings and a time of family reunions.”
Kent Lee, San Diego City Councilmember, gave his reaction to the shooting as well.
“And I think that speaks a lot to the resiliency of Asian American communities, in light of everything we faced in still taking a moment to really recognize the importance of this New Year,” Lee said.
Lee added that during tragedy, it’s a time to remember what we all have in common.
“Life is precious often and I think these are the rare opportunities we have to recognize that we get a chance to bring people together,” Lee said.
As the community gathers to celebrate and mourn, they continue to look up.
“We need to be vigilant and we need to fight, and we need to combat the factors that contributed to such a tragedy,” Loh-Hagan said. “We will persevere. Together we can be better, we will be better.”