As investigators continue to search for answers in Saturday's shooting at a dance studio that killed 10 people and wounded 10 others, the Monterey Park, Calif., community has come together to try and heal from this tragedy, according to community leaders.
The mass shooting comes as the community is still on edge over the recent years of anti-Asian harassment and violence in the country, Rep. Judy Chu, who represents the area in the House, told ABC News.
The congresswoman spoke with GMA 3 on Monday to reflect on the shooting and how the community is healing from the incident.
GMA 3: We want to give our sincere condolences to the city and, of course, to the families of all of the victims there. How is the community doing this morning? What are you hearing on the ground there?
REP. JUDY CHU: Well, it's been a horrific 24 hours. People were so fearful and anxious about an active shooter being out there in the community. But finally, there was relief when he was found and surrounded by law enforcement, causing him to shoot himself. So my message to the community is: You are safe, there is no more active shooter. And it's so important for people to heal and to go to the Lunar New Year celebrations that they have been looking forward to all year long. So it's not going to be easy, but yes, we are beginning the healing process.
GMA 3: Again, our condolences to you and your community there. The suspect is seen stopping at a second dance studio in neighboring Alhambra. An individual there was able to disarm and preventing more harm. We don't know the suspect's motives just yet, but how important is it to you and the community that we find out?
CHU: I have many questions in my mind. I want to know what the motive is. I want to know whether he had a mental problem. I do understand that he does not have a criminal history, but I also want to know what the weapons were, whether they were illegal and then how he got them. And so we need to see what his background is.
What caused him to target the people? We do not know. Nonetheless, for him to do this right after we had our opening celebration of Lunar New Year was just horrific. There were thousands of people that were only one block away celebrating the -- this -- this very, very important holiday. And we had so many elected officials. It was a joyous time that immediately turned to tragedy.
GMA 3: The Asian American community has really experienced so much trauma by violent crimes, especially during the pandemic [in] the last few years. There were some early worries that this might be a hate crime, and while the suspect was an Asian man, we don't know his motive just yet. What does it say that this was the first thought that came to a lot of people's minds after an incident like this?
CHU: Well, the feelings of Asian Americans are very raw right now because we've just come from three years of anti-Asian hate due to COVID and there have been 11,500 anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents. There were so many incidents that we heard about at one point that every AAPI who walked out on the sidewalk wondered, will I be next? And so when those of us heard about this shooting, the first thing that came to our minds was, was this an anti-Asian hate crime? Well, it wasn't. But still, the tragedy is overwhelming and these 10 lives should not have been lost, and especially at a time that should have been so joyous and should have been celebratory.
In fact, the reason that everybody was so enthusiastic about this Lunar New Year is that it was on hiatus for three years due to COVID. This was the first time it was being done in three years where everybody was together and in person. So it should have been a wonderful time for our community.