GUEST COMMENTARY - Late Saturday night, many community residents who subscribe to the Citizens app on their cell phones received a message which stated mass shooting incident in Monterey Park.
Early Sunday morning most TV news outlets then announced the mass shooting incident which took place in Monterey Park.
The shooting incident took place within an hour after the Saturday's 9:30 pm closer of the main AAPI Lunar New Year celebration which had taken place within two blocks of the location of the mass shooting. As local news outlets noted, more than one hundred thousand people attended the Lunar festivities on Saturday - all without incident.
During Sunday's early morning TV news there was a press conference presented by Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese who stated that his police officers responded to a shots fired call at the Star Ballroom Dance studio on West Garvey, Monterey Park at 10:22 pm. Within 3 minutes of the 911 call his police officers had made entry inside of the location and discovered 10 deceased individuals and as many more injured. A Mutual Aid alert was requested. Ten other wounded individuals were transported to various local hospitals.
The rest of the Lunar New Year celebration which was to continue on Sunday was cancelled.
A newsperson contacted Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis via telephone and during this telephone conversation Solis implied that this shooting incident was a HATE CRIME. Solis had no firm evidence, nor had she received and information from law enforcement officials that the shooting incident was in any way related to a HATE CRIME.
All Solis did was instill fear among the Asian community that this horrific mass shooting incident was a HATE CRIME.
Late this same day there was yet another press conference attended by both Monterey Park Police Chief Wiese, LA. County Sheriff Luna, Monterey Park Fire officials, several local elected officials and now in person LA. County Supervisor Hilda Solis and US Representative Judy Chu.
Both Luna and Wiese kept most information close to chest which was the right thing to do. Both stated that the investigation is ongoing and that both the FBI and ATF was assisting with the investigation. Once again during this news conference Hilda Solis implied that this mass shooting incident was a HATE CRIME. Solis also went on to announce the name of one of the hospital locations (USC Medical ) where injured people had been transported. A third news conference took place and at this time the shooter was identified only as a male. There was limited information that the shooter may have gone to a second dance ballroom location which was located in Alhambra.
Most officials present then made the rounds of making various comments. A news person asked Sheriff Luna to list the names of the various hospitals where the injured had been transported. Luna stated that he makes it a policy not to disclose the name of the hospitals where the injured were transported. Then Luna stated that already USC medical previously identified by Hilda Solis as receiving some of the injured had received telephone calls by unknown persons stating that they wanted to go to their hospital facility and complete the job.
Time and time again elected officials love to hear themselves talk and make statements that are inflammatory, inaccurate and comments that can cause severe problems with ongoing criminal investigations.
Prior to the second news conference the president of the Chamber of Commerce (who was being interviewed by a field news reporter) stated that he had received information that the shooter was a male who in the past attended the Star Ballroom dance studio and that this mass shooting may be related to domestic violence.
The LA. County Sheriff's department took over as the leading law enforcement agency in charge of this mass shooting incident. The LA. Co Sheriff's department did not release any information on this horrific shooting incident until after 3:30 am. Sunday morning. However my sources tell me that veteran Los Angeles Times reporter Richard Winton had posted on their web site the announcement of this horrific mass shooting event at around 11:30 pm. Saturday night. Note that the initial shooting incident was reported at around 10:22pm Saturday night.
There is a question as to why did Sheriff Luna wait until Sunday 3:30 am before making any type of public notification? Did the public have the right to be informed that an active mass shooter was on the loose and not yet apprehended?
Later on Sunday it was disclosed that the shooter, within twenty minutes or so of the first shooting incident in Monterey Park, then entered the Lai Lai Dance Studio which is located in Alhambra. Once inside of the Lai Lai Studio, 26 year old Brandon Tsay observed a male holding a large firearm with an extended attachment. Tsay then struggled with the male and was able to secure the firearm and then the male fled from the location. Tsay then called the police. It was quickly determined that that the male who entered the Lai Lai Studio may be the same person responsible for the mass shooting incident in Monterey Park. The male was subsequently identified as 72 year old Huu Can Tran.
There was yet another press conference where again a host of elected officials were present and all made comments which included patting themselves on their backs and also giving thanks to each other. I would be amiss if I failed to mention that US Representative Judy Chu stated “I wish to thank our Mayor , Karen Bass “. This at the same time when the mayor of Monterey Park was standing behind her. What did Karen Bass have to with this mass shooting incident? Did Chu forget that Bass was no longer one of her counter parts as a US Representative. Bass is the new elected mayor of the City of Los Angeles. What an insult to the Mayor of Monterey Park.
There were more press conferences where US Senator Alex Padilla spoke, also LA County Board member Janis Hahn, LA County District Attorney George Gascon and LAPD Chief Moore. Even Governor Gavin Newsom wanted some free airtime.
Gascon made statements surrounding his role in securing search warrants. I might add his statements were less than accurate. Investigators have to request the search warrants and then their requests go before a Superior Court Judge who then reviews all of the submitted written documentation and then signs off on the request for the warrants.
Padilla and Newsom both talked about California needs more gun laws. My question is why was Padilla even present in Monterey Park? When was the last time he spent time in his old LA City Council District Pacoima? There has been a major increase in violent crime in the neighborhood that he used to represent as a Los Angeles City council member.
As for Newsom he did spend time with 26-year-old Brandon Tsay. Tsay, I might add, can be considered a HERO. He risked his own life to secure the firearm and prevent more carnage. The video obtained from Lai Lai studio of his physical altercation with the male holding the firearm subsequently led to the identity of the mass shooter in the Monterey Park shooting.
What we know is that within less than 16 hours after the initial mass shooting incident in Monterey Park the individual responsible for the loss of 11 lives and the wounding of others was deceased and no longer a threat to anyone.
Monterey Park PD Does It the Right Way
Hats off to the new Police Chief of Monterey Park, Scot Wiese, who immediately called for Mutual Aid response. Hats off to his police officers who did not hesitate before entering the Star Dance Ballroom.
Hats off to all first responders, police and fire personnel. Hats off to all of the receiving Medical facilities and their staff who provided emergency medical care. Hats off to the Torrance Police Department and there Patrol officers who spotted a white van and initiated the traffic stop. Remember there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. As we now know the driver of the white van was indeed the male responsible for the Mass shooting in Monterey Park. Lastly, hats off to all of the Homicide investigators and CSI investigators.
Now, there are many people trying to be Monday Night Quarterbacks without benefit of knowing what they are talking about. Investigators always tries to find the answers to the 5 w's. Who, What, Where, When and Why? We now know the answer to WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN but may never know the answer as to WHY.
The city of Monterey Park is to be commended for its overall quick response to provide services at their Senior Center for surviving family members , relatives and others impacted by this horrific tragedy that took place in their city.
Maybe the city of Los Angeles can learn from the City of Monterey Park on how to provide services as the families impacted by the failed detonation of illegal fireworks by LAPD on East 27th Street after more than 1½ years continue to be ignored by LA's elected city officials.
After the mass shooting incident in Monterey Park, California has seen two additional mass shootings incidents one in Half Moon Bay and the other in Oakland.
(Caroline Aguirre is a retired 24-year State of California law enforcement officer, LAPD family member, community activist and Neighborhood Watch captain. Aguirre is a CityWatch contributor. The opinions expressed by Caroline Aguirre do not necesarilhy reflect those of CityWatch.)