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Biden offers condolences to victims of California mass shooting, acknowledges impact on AAPI community

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A San Jose crane business flies a 1

By Jack Forrest and Aaron Pellish, CNN

President Joe Biden offered his condolences to the victims of a mass shooting in California that left 10 dead, while acknowledging the impact on the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in a statement on Sunday.

“While there is still much we don’t know about the motive in this senseless attack, we do know that many families are grieving tonight, or praying that their loved one will recover from their wounds,” Biden said in the statement.

“Monterey Park is home to one of the largest AAPI communities in America, many of whom were celebrating the Lunar New Year along with loved ones and friends this weekend,” he said.

Also on Sunday, Biden ordered flags flown at half-staff at the White House and other federal buildings until sunset on Thursday to honor the victims.

Authorities were scrambling to understand why a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park as the city’s Asian American community was celebrating Lunar New Year weekend. Another 10 people were injured in the shooting.

Monterey Park, about seven miles east of downtown Los Angeles, has one of the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the US and has been known to host Lunar New Year events drawing more than 100,000 people from across Southern California.

It’s not clear how many people were still gathered in the area when shots were fired.

“Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year. Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence,” Gov. Gavin Newsom of California tweeted.

Vice President Kamala Harris also offered her condolences Sunday while speaking at an event in Florida.

“All of us in this room and in our country understand this violence must stop,” Harris said. “And President Biden and I and our administration will continue to provide full support to the local authorities as we learn more.”

Rep. Judy Chu, a Democrat who represents Monterey Park, praised local law enforcement and thanked those who reached out to her offering support, including Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Chu said at a news conference in Monterey Park that she received calls from Mayorkas and from “the White House,” although she did not specify whether she spoke with Biden. Chu also said she spoke with Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

“All expressed concerns and offered their resources to us to make sure that we could end this terrible situation,” she said.

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CNN’s Jasmine Wright, Holly Yan, Keith Allen, Tina Burnside, Josh Campbell and Alaa Elassar contributed to this report.

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