Deadly California shooting casts pall over Canadian Lunar New Year festivities

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday his “heart breaks” for the people whose Lunar New Year celebrations were “violently attacked” and whose lives were forever changed after a mass shooting in California.

A gunman killed 10 people and wounded 10 others at a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, Calif., a city on the eastern edge of Los Angeles composed mostly of Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans. The attack came following a Lunar New Year celebration Saturday night.

The shooting happened in the heart of the city’s downtown where red lanterns decorated the streets for the Lunar New Year festivities.

The celebration in Monterey Park is one of California’s largest and had attracted tens of thousands throughout the day. Two days of festivities, which have been attended by as many as 100,000 people in past years, were planned but officials canceled Sunday’s events following the shooting.

Trudeau, who attended one of Canada’s largest Lunar New Year parades in Vancouver’s Chinatown Sunday, said it is nice that everyone can gather to celebrate the Lunar New Year in-person for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he said news of the shooting has also caused sadness amid what should be a joyful time.

“We will be there for whatever support Canada can offer,” Trudeau told reporters before the parade began Saturday.

He said he is sending condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and is keeping the victims in his thoughts.

His remarks came as thousands of Canadians gather to kick off the Year of the Rabbit across the country.