MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (WPRI) — Several Rhode Island lawmakers expressed their condolences Sunday after a gunman killed 10 people at a California ballroom dance studio amid Lunar New Year celebrations.
One of those lawmakers was Newport Mayor, Xay Khamsyvoravong, who called the tragedy, “heartbreaking.”
“As an Asian-American, the Lunar New Year is a really special time to gather friends and family and also to share traditions that are important to our community,” Khamsyvoravong said. “To have an event like this happen on a day that’s typically a point of the celebration is particularly devastating.”
Khamsyvoravong also told 12 News that he grew up as a ballroom dancer and said that studios like the one in Monterey Park give people a sense of community.
“These studios are more than just spaces, they are really special places where people go to do something inherently awkward and ultimately find a really great sense of community,” he explained.
Khamsyvoravong recently returned to Rhode Island following a trip to Washington D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He said one of the issues addressed at that conference was mass shootings.
“When these mayors get together and talk about their experiences it is not a Republican or Democrat issue for them, you can tell how deeply it scared them, there was not a dry eye in the room,” said Khamsyvoravong.
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee also released a statement regarding the mass shooting.
“My heart goes out to the victims, survivors, and the families affected by another senseless mass shooting,” McKee said “Lunar New Year is supposed to be a time of celebration with friends and family, not heartbreak. We must do all we can to stop the scourge of gun violence in America.”
The shooting in Monterey Park was the nation’s fifth mass killing this month, according to an Associated Press/USA Today database.