Flag at ‘half-staff’ in response to Monterey Park shooting leaving 10 dead, 10 injured

The U.S. flag in the Veterans Memorial stood at half-staff until Thursday, Jan. 26. Anna Casper | Lariat

The U.S. flag will fly at half-staff Monday through Thursday, Jan. 26, on campus “in honor of the victims of the tragedy in Monterey Park,” marketing and communications director Jennie McCue said in an email to Saddleback College Monday morning.

This announcement is a response to news Saturday evening of a gunman killing 10 people at Star Dance Studio celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California. Another 10 victims were severely injured and sent to Los Angeles area hospitals where they remain in critical condition.

“When officers arrived on scene, they observed numerous individuals, patrons of the location pouring out of the location, screaming,” Capt. Andrew Meyer of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said at a news conference Sunday morning. “The officers made entry to the location and located additional victims.”

An Asian adult male was found armed at a second dance studio in La Alhambra, California, though no connection has been made between this event and the Monterrey Park shooting.

When McCue’s message reached the campus, President Elliot Stern also reacted separately in another email:

We collectively take a slow breath, hang our heads low and feel a wave of sadness this morning for the victims of the mass shooting in nearby Monterey Park, a majority Asian community. Our own sadness is not worthy of acknowledgment unless we channel it into empathy, support and warm human embrace for the members of that community who have lost loved ones and to all members of our own Asian community who feel this loss in a way that is more personal. We pray for a speedy recovery for those injured. We wish rest and solace for those grieving. And for the Asian-Americans among us, we offer a collective hug and share with you hope for a better year ahead.

Southern Orange County Community College District Chancellor Julianna M. Barnes responded an hour later:

Chancellor message:

Three weeks into 2023, and we are faced with another tragedy related to gun violence here in America.

While many of our colleagues and students were kicking-off festivities for Lunar New Year, celebrations came to a screeching pause with the heartbreaking news of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, killing ten people and at least ten injured.

Because of the strong Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community throughout the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD), we know that the Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate new beginnings, set positive intentions, and hope for health and prosperity throughout the year. Yet, we are faced with a sobering and somber reminder that senseless acts of gun violence are still a part of our reality.

To the families who tragically lost their loved ones to this horrendous incident, on behalf of SOCCCD, we extend our deepest condolences.

We offer our support and stand in solidarity with our neighboring community college district of LACCD, who serves the Monterey Park area in supporting students, staff, and faculty as they navigate the aftermath of this tragedy.

In addition, we offer support to our AAPI community, as these targeted crimes of hate can leave us feeling unsettled and unsafe.

These incidents affect us deeply in many different ways. I encourage you to utilize the resources we have available to navigate these uncertain times. The SOCCCD Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) can be accessed by calling 1-800-964-3577 or visiting www.guidanceresources.com.

SOCCCD stands firm with Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College in working to support safe and welcoming campuses and communities.

We are unwavering in our allyship with the AAPI community, other BIPOC communities, and anyone committed to furthering the fight to create a more equitable and just world for us all.