FilAm shooting victim in Monterey Park remembered; gun violence bewailed

Valentino Alvero, 68, a Filipino American who was one of 11 shooting victims in Monterey Park California

By Jun Nucum
LOS ANGELES – Focusing instead on his love for the people in his community, hearing about their lives and sharing his own stories with so much gusto and enthusiasm and his passion for ballroom dancing and being the life of the party, the family of Filipino American shooting victim also expressed their wish that he would be remembered “as a loving father, a dedicated son and brother, a grandfather who loved his three granddaughters fiercely, an uncle who loved his nieces and nephews like his own.”

The family of slain Filipino American Valentino Marcos Alvero stressed this in a statement released by Karmel Kwan, niece of 68-year-old  Alvero who was among the eleven victims who were shot and killed Saturday night at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California. Eleven others were injured in the shooting. (See related stories)

While offering their deepest condolences to other victims and their families, Alvero’s family wanted that “Valentino is more than just a headline or a news story.”

“Overnight, we became unwilling members of a community who has to mourn the loss of our loved ones due to gun violence. We are left frustrated, stuck with this vicious cycle,” said the family who also now have to endure this heart-shattering and life-altering tragedy. We hope that we all continue to look out for each other, may kindness and grace find us in the dark days ahead. Our hearts are with you,” the statement continued.

The Alvero family was also sad that as a devout Catholic, Valentino did not receive last rites prompting them to request all priests and Catholics to pray offer Masses or rosaries for the repose of Valentino’s soul and for the souls of all victims of mass shootings and for an end to mass shootings in the nation and the world.

“He was faithful servant of God and we know that he would want the world to lift his family in prayer more than anything. We appreciate all the messages of sympathy and we also request that we are allowed to mourn in peace from this point forward,” concluded the Alvero family statement.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Valentino’s daughter Kristenne lovingly stated, “My dad loved God, he loved people, and he loved to dance. I hope he’s dancing now, in that great gig in the sky.”  

While acknowledging the Alvero family’s wish for privacy and space, the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles relayed their readiness “to assist them in whatever possible way should they reach out got any help we could give.”

“The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles expressed its shock and great sadness over the mass shooting incident that took place in Monterey Park California 21 January 24, 2023. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims and we mourn with them during this lunar new year festival which is supposed to be a time of gathering and celebration,” the office of Consul General Edgar Badajos stated.

The Consulate General called on the community to stay safe, exercise all the caution and continue being vigilant during these uncertain times by always monitoring loved ones and family members’ whereabouts and immediately reporting any suspicious activities to local law enforcement and watch out for each other.

After a the shooting in Monterey Park, suspect Huu Can Tran, 72, went to the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, where he was subdued by 26-year-old Brandon Tsay who demanded that suspect leave the dance studio.

And after police hunt,Tran was found dead Sunday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a white cargo van at a Torrance strip mall parking lot.

19th District of California Assembly Member Phil Ting said he was saddened that this tragedy happened at a traditionally happy celebration of welcoming the Lunar Year of the Rabbit.

“We traditionally say that we in California we are very proud that we don’t have as many mass shootings as there are in other states because of all the work we had on common-sense gun legislation. But unfortunately, it is still way to easy for any individual to obtain a legal or an illegal firearm in the State,” lamented Ting.

Ting pledged that his he and his colleagues will go back to work and think about what else that we can do to further protect the community.  “We know that the more guns there are on the street, the more deaths there are,” Ting said.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta said   “more guns in more places makes us less safe and interferes with the ability of our citizens to exercise their constitutional rights,” after he filed an amicus brief in support of New York’s commonsense regulation and authority to prohibit the carrying of firearms in sensitive places, in particular, places of worship..

“On Monday, we saw seven people shot in Half Moon Bay. This weekend, 11 people gunned down in Monterey Park. Less than a year ago, six people were shot during a church service in Laguna Woods. In the United States, tragedies such as these are all too common and as we see this trauma compound in our communities, we must do more, not less. We must provide the public with protection from gun violence, and respect the authority of states as they implement commonsense gun regulations to safeguard their communities,” Bonta said.

Bonta also warned the public to be vigilant against fraudulent crowdfunding people who seek to take advantage of communities and people’s desire to help crime victims, survivors, and their families in the aftermath of tragedy but may be operating crowdfunding pages often formed overnight and may lack the experience, contacts, and staff needed to fulfill their commitments.

Before donating online, Bonta urged Californians to do their research on organizers and crowdfunding platforms, among others.