California shooting: Biden pays tribute to victims


US President Joe Biden observed a minute of silence at the White House on Thursday to honor the victims of separate shootings that left 11 people dead at a Southern California disco and seven others at two ranch grow mushrooms in the northern part of the state.

“Our prayers are with the people of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay,” the president said during a Lunar New Year reception.

Biden said he spoke with Brandon Tsay, 26, who was at a second disco a few miles from the scene of the tragedy in Monterey Park when the same gunman entered, brandishing a weapon. Tsay disarmed the gunman, after which he fled.

Biden praised Tsay’s courage and called him a “true hero”.

Saturday and Monday night’s shootings occurred during a time when the Chinese New Year celebrations are usually happy and caused fear in Asian-American communities already dealing with violence. increased targeting of them, some of it due to misinformation about the coronavirus.

Authorities say Tran opened fire late Saturday into a crowd of mostly elderly dancers at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park. Nine people were also injured. Mr. Tran, 72, was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Days later, farmer Chunli Zhao, 66, opened fire at two mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay, killing seven current and former colleagues, police said.

The White House had scheduled a Lunar New Year celebration before the shooting.

Biden said both communities “will be affected by what they witness for the rest of their lives,” adding that “as a nation, we have to be there because surname.”

On Sunday, Biden ordered the American flags to be lowered on federal facilities by half a foot until sundown on Thursday out of respect for the victims in Monterey Park. He said Thursday that he has been in contact with California Governor Gavin Newsom. He also sent Vice President Kamala Harris, a native of California, to Monterey Park on Wednesday to offer condolences on behalf of the government.

Biden arrived in California on January 19, just two days before filming the dance studio, to survey flood damage along the state’s central coast after days of heavy rain. He spoke to Tsay earlier this week.

“Thank you for taking such incredible action in the face of danger,” Biden told Tsay in a short video of the conversation that the White House shared Thursday on Twitter. “I don’t think you understand how much you’ve done for so many people who will never even know you.”

Tsay replied that he was still processing what happened.

“It’s comforting to be called by you,” Tsay told the president.

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