Monterey Park thanks firefighter-paramedics, apologizes for overlooking their trauma, heroism

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Monterey Park honors paramedics for response to mass shooting
EMBED <>More Videos

The city of Monterey Park is thanking the firefighter-paramedics who helped save lives after the mass shooting - and apologizing for not recognizing the trauma they experienced.

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Monterey Park is honoring and thanking the firefighter-paramedics who helped save lives after the mass shooting - and apologizing for not recognizing the trauma the incident caused them.

Fire Chief Matthew Hallock said many of the firefighter-paramedics who responded the night of the shooting "felt like they didn't exist" in the aftermath of the shooting.

Some of the 18 who responded that day experienced significant trauma from what they witnessed and experienced, and some have not been able to return to work.

"I would like to publicly apologize to the fire service community and our very own fire department for not intervening sooner as the dialogue continued throughout the first week," city manager Ron Bow said. "Thank you Monterey Park Fire Department for your dedicated service to our community."

Authorities said Huu Can Tran opened fire late Jan. 21 on a mostly elderly crowd of dancers at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. Tran, 72, was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Twenty people were shot at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. Eleven of them died, while nine survived with help from firefighter-paramedics who responded to the scene that night. The fire chief noted some of them even had to go to unrelated cardiac arrest calls later that night.

The thanks came as the city of Monterey Park also held a press conference to publicize some of the additional resources for mental health support being made available to residents. Resources include drop-in counseling and other services at a library and a senior center.

The city is partnering with Chinatown Service Center to provide drop-in services at the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library through Feb. 10.

Additional mental-health counselors will be available at the Langley Senior Center through Feb. 3.

Here's what we know about the 11 victims of the Monterey Park mass shooting

One of the victims was a dance instructor, known for his patience and understanding, and another was a grandmother who loved to dance and was devoted to her family.

Details and a list of other resources are available at the city's website here.

Melina Heng walks past Monterey Park City Hall daily. On Tuesday she told ABC7 that she and her parents and friends have been "just giving support to each other" in the aftermath of the tragedy, "just telling them that it's going to be OK."

"We can't stop living our life because of this, you know?" Heng said. "We just have to be nice to one another and hopefully this doesn't happen again."

The shooting was carried out during celebrations of the arrival of the Lunar New Year, one of the most important Asian holidays, and sent fear through Asian American communities already dealing with increased violence directed at them, some of it due to misinformation about the coronavirus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.