Among the victims of a mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, on Saturday were a doting father and a woman whose family called her one of their biggest cheerleaders.
Dozens of people in their 50s, 60s and 70s had gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year weekend when a 72-year-old gunman opened fire in the studio, killing 11 and wounding nine.
Authorities do not know why the shooting occurred, they said. The gunman fled and died Sunday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, they added.
Monterey Park shooting timeline
The victims, five men and six women, were publicly identified Tuesday by the coroner’s office. The female victims were named as Xiujuan Yu, 57; Hongying Jian, 62; Lilan Li, 63; MymyNhan, 65; Muoi Dai Ung, 67; and Diana Man Ling Tom, 70. The male victims were identified as Wen-Tau Yu, 64; Valentino Marcos Alvero, 68; Ming Wei Ma, 72; Yu-Lun Kao, 72; and Chia Ling Yau, 76.
This is how family and friends want to be remembered and how to help. As we learn more about their lives, we will continue to update this story.
Alvero, a worker in the hotel industry, had plans to retire in a year with the hope of returning to his native Philippines, his son and namesake Val Anthony Alvero told CNN’s David Culver. He had not found out about the shooting until Sunday morning, he said.
Anthony described his father as someone who “was always optimistic and cared about others.”
Alvero spent his free time in the dance studio, Anthony said. Growing up, he remembers his father dancing and singing in the house.
“He loved people and hearing about their lives, and in return, he shared his own stories with such gusto and enthusiasm that you couldn’t help but listen and laugh with him,” according to one family statement. “He loved ballroom dancing, he loved his community, and he was the life of any party.”
While Anthony wants to know more about what happened, anger doesn’t add anything to the situation, he said.
“I wish it would come out of this better,” he said. “The biggest thing I would like other people to take away, I think regardless of this situation, it’s always very important to appreciate the time you spend with people.”
Anthony’s father was the type of person who would overcome emotions in times of crisis, so to honor him, he is trying to do the same, he said.
Nhan, known to friends and family as Mymy, loved to dance and spent many years frequenting the dance studio.
She was known as her family’s “biggest cheerleader” and a “loving aunt, sister, daughter and friend,” according to a statement from her family.
Nhan had been the primary caregiver for her mother, who passed away four weeks ago, Tiffany Liou, a reporter for CNN affiliate WFAA in Dallas, whose husband was Nhan’s nephew, told CNN and tweeted.
“They are together now, dancing in the sky,” he said. wrote on Twitter.
“Mymy treated her nieces/nephews like her own children,” Liou said. “Your kindness from her is what is needed in this world.”
The family started a GoFundMe to help with funeral costs while mourning two consecutive relatives.
Ma was a cultural force in the Monterey Park entertainment community, her friend Shuhui Peng said.
An employee of the Star Ballroom Dance studio, he was known by the nickname Little Ma Brother.
Although she was mostly a manager and did not teach dance, Ma was an enthusiastic presence who was always heavily involved in studio operations, said studio regular May Hua Huang.
Once, when Huang didn’t know how to do the Cha Cha, Ma happily stepped in to help and took Huang out on the dance floor to practice a few moves together.
“I was shocked,” Huang said, recalling the moment he found out about the shooting. “I immediately looked at the media and suddenly felt like my heart was very tight. How could something like this happen?”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Lilan Li’s given name.