The Monterey Park Shooting Victims Have Been Identified. Here’s What We Know About Them.

"What was meant to be a night out celebrating the Lunar New Year with friends ended up being a devastating and life-changing event for my family."

All 11 victims of the Monterey Park, California, shooting have been identified by officials and friends as authorities continue to investigate a motive in the deadly mass shooting on Lunar New Year’s Eve.

Ten people were pronounced dead at the scene and 10 others were injured after a shooter opened fire at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, a city with a predominantly Asian population, on Saturday night. The shooter then traveled to another dance studio in Alhambra, Lai Lai, but was forcibly disarmed by the owner’s son as he walked into the building. 

Another victim who was being treated for "extensive injuries" died at the hospital on Monday, USC + LAC Medical Center said, increasing the death toll to 11.

My My Nhan, 65; LiLan Li, 63; Xiujuan Yu, 57; Muoi Dai Ung, 67; Hongying Jian, 62; Diana Man Ling Tom, 70; Yu-Lun Kao, 72; Chia Ling Yau, 76; Valentino Marcos Alvero, 68; Wen-Tau Yu, 64; and Ming Wei Ma, 72, were identified by the coroner’s office on Tuesday.

Victor Yushin, an instructor at Star Ballroom, told BuzzFeed News that although new dancers would come in often, many of the students knew each other.

"It's a community and for sure, it's a good place for people who just enjoyed dancing, you know," Yushin said. "I never see any arguments in there, people [getting] angry or something. No, it was just [a] good place."

A GoFundMe created by several Asian American and Pacific Islander advocacy groups is raising money for those affected by the shooting.

Three of the victims, Kao, Yu, and Yau, were Taiwanese Americans, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles told BuzzFeed News.

"TECO-LA conveys our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families and sends our prayers to the injured for a speedy recovery," the office said in a statement.

The embassy said it was assisting the victims' loved ones who live in Taiwan and plans to travel to the US to take care of their affairs. The families declined to provide statements.

Here’s what we know about the victims so far. 

Ming Wei Ma, 72

The owner of the studio and a beloved dance instructor who was the “heart” of Star Ballroom, Ma was identified by colleagues and friends as one of the victims on Sunday night.

Ma was a staple of the dance community and “beloved and respected” by those who were a part of it, said Eric Chen, a friend of Ma’s who spoke to ABC7

Chen said he was killed while trying to stop the shooter. 

Lauren Woods, another instructor at the studio, wrote in a Facebook post that she talked to Ma for the last time on Saturday; he helped her find a parking space in the crowded streets amid the New Year's celebrations. 

Woods said she and Ma had a special way of communicating.

“His English was not great, but he’d always say, ‘My teacher! My teacher!’ Always kiss my cheeks and say ‘Love You! Love you!’ Full of hugs and physically pick me up sometimes. It was always so loving when he would do this,” she wrote. 

Ma was “the heart of Star Ballroom,” Woods added. He connected with many people who came through the dance studio.

“To the ones who were there and so many other dancers in our community, I’m so glad you got to meet and get to know Ma and his beautiful soul, at least once, before passing,” she wrote.

Yushin told BuzzFeed News that Ma always made sure people were comfortable at his studio.

"He always tried to communicate with everybody, he always would be nice," said Yushin, who started teaching at Star Ballroom seven or eight months ago. "Whenever you need some help, whatever you need ... whatever he has at the time, he shared. He was always helping everybody."

At his dance studio, Ma "built a community that dearly loved and respected him for his kindness and liveliness," a GoFundMe created to help pay for his funeral expenses said.

In a 2016 interview with Pasadena Star-News about Chinese immigrants taking up Latin dance at the studio, Ma said he wanted to offer a place for Asians in Monterey Park to be active.

“Having a place where people from all over the world can come together and communicate through dance is how I can help,” Ma said. 

My Nhan, 65

Nhan, whose family called her Mymy, was a longtime patron of Star Ballroom who often went dancing on the weekends.

“It’s what she loved to do,” her family said in a statement. “But unfairly, Saturday was her last dance.”

Nhan was the first person who was shot and killed at the studio that night, according to Tiffany Liou, a reporter whose husband was Nhan’s nephew. 

Nhan was shot in her car outside Star Ballroom, Fox 11 journalist Gigi Graciette reported.

Mymy Nhan was the first person shot and killed during the #MontereyPark mass shooting. I've covered a lot of tragedies, and never imagined one would hit so close to home. My husband's family is hurting beyond measure. Here's a statement on behalf of the family.

Twitter: @tliou

Liou said their family got a call from the coroner’s office on Saturday night.

It was “a 14 minute call that we anticipated, dreaded, and will never forget,” she tweeted.

Nhan’s family said they were “starting the Lunar New Year broken.”

“We never imagined her life would end so suddenly,” they said. 

“If you knew her, you knew her warm smile and kindness was contagious. She was a loving aunt, sister, daughter and friend,” her family said. “Mymy was our biggest cheerleader.”

Valentino Alvero, 68

In the hours after the shooting, Alvero's family members weren't sure what happened to him; all they knew was that his van was parked in the same plaza as Star Ballroom, his great-niece, Karmel Kwan, posted on Twitter.

The coroner's office confirmed his death on Monday.

A statement from the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles said Alvero was a US citizen of Filipino descent.

"While this is not the news we hoped, the unbearable unknown is over. Thank you to those who shared + reached out," Kwan wrote on Twitter.

Alvero's family urged the public to "remember that Valentino is more than just a headline or a news story." He was a devout Catholic and a loving son, brother, father, grandfather, and uncle.

"He loved people and hearing about their lives and in return, he shared his own stories with so much gusto and enthusiasm that you couldn't help but listen and laugh along with him," his family said in a statement. "He loved ballroom dancing, he loved his community, and was the life of the party."

Our family’s official statement on the Monterey Park shooting:

Twitter: @karmelkwan

Alvero loved dancing and singing around the house, his son, Val Anthony Alvero, told CNN.

"He's not the type of person to run away from danger," Val said. "Once I knew he was there, it was very likely that he was injured or unfortunately one of those that passed away."

His family created a GoFundMe for his funeral expenses so as to "honor his memory the way he would want, with a big funeral Mass and party," they said.

Xiujuan Yu, 57

Like other families, Yu's waited anxiously for days before getting the news that she was one of the people killed in the shooting.

Yu immigrated from China to the US in the early 2010s, her niece, Kathleen Fong, said in a GoFundMe to raise money for funeral costs.

"She and her family have done their best to make a life for themselves here, leaving their past lives behind in China to craft a new future for their little family," Fong wrote. "My aunt was in the middle of crafting that future with her husband and children, and now to have that journey suddenly interrupted is heartbreaking. She will never be able to witness what she dreamed of for all these years."

Yu had three children, including twins who are currently students at California State universities. Yu and her husband worked hard to support their daughters, taking up labor-intensive work and odd jobs where they could.

"What was meant to be a night out celebrating the Lunar New Year with friends ended up being a devastating and life-changing event for my family," Fong wrote. "Personally, this still doesn't feel real. It happened all too quickly — we never even got a chance to properly say goodbye."

Diana Tom, 70

Tom was identified by family members as the woman who later died at the hospital of injuries sustained in the shooting, the Los Angeles Times reported. Her family described her as a "hard-working mother, wife and grandmother who loved to dance."

"On behalf of Diana Tom, we, her family, condemn this senseless act of violence that has uprooted the lives of all the victims, their families and the entire API community at large," the family said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News.

Tom was dancing with her friends at Star Dance Saturday evening to celebrate the Lunar New Year, her family said.

"To those who knew her, she was someone who always went out of her way to give to others," they said.

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help them pay for Tom's medical costs, funeral, family care, and legal needs. The family also encouraged people to donate to a fundraiser organized by Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California and other local groups that supports victims of the shooting.

Yu Lun Kao, 72

Kao, who also went by Andy, was at Star Ballroom with his longtime dance partner and friend on Saturday night.

Kao and his friend, Shally — who has spoken to ABC7 but declined to share her last name — hid under a table when the shooter opened fire inside the studio. Shally told ABC7 that she realized he'd been shot when she tried waking him up after the shooter left.

Kao took a bullet for Shally and saved her life, her husband, Francois Ung, said in a GoFundMe for Kao's funeral expenses.

Kao's was a familiar face at Star Ballroom, Elizabeth Yang, a lawyer and community leader in Monterey Park, told BuzzFeed News. He was an avid dancer and went to that studio and Lai Lai every weekend, Ung wrote in the GoFundMe.

Friends called him "Mr. Nice" because he was so welcoming to new dancers at the studios.

"Yu Kao was a free spirit, made people laugh, and loved to dance even if it was only him on the dance floor. We were close friends and treated each other as family. He was like a brother to me," Ung wrote.

"We will miss you Mr. Nice," he added. "Keep on dancing."

Wen Tau Yu, 64

Yu had dined with his family on Lunar New Year eve before going out to celebrate with friends and never came back. His son, Szu Fa Yu, told the New York Times that his family reported him as missing the next day when he missed lunch with friends too.

Although retired, Yu was ready for his second career and had just started studying to become a pharmacist, his son said.

Yu's son was unsure if his dad was shot inside the dance studio or while passing by the building. He told the New York Times that he did not know his dad as a dancer.

"When I first found out, I just could not believe it," Szu Fa said. "Now, the sadness is growing."

Hongying Jian, 62

Jian and her husband, Jeff Liu went to Star Ballroom for the festivities that night, and they were separated during the shooting.

Liu was hospitalized with injuries, and Jian — who went by Nancy — was missing, according to their daughter, Juno Blees. Her family had hoped that she was taken to a hospital for treatment.

But on Monday, Blees tweeted that her mom was one of the victims.

"She never made it out of the dance studio. My family is devastated especially my dad," she wrote.

Like many others, Liu and Jian went to Star Ballroom often and they knew everyone there, Blees told the New York Times. Her parents immigrated from China to the US more than 25 years ago, and they were inseparable, she said.

LiLan Li, 63

Li was celebrating the Lunar New Year festivities with friends when the shooting happened.

"The family is devastated by this tragic event due to senseless gun violence and mourns deeply for the loss of our beloved Lilan," a GoFundMe created by her nephew said.

Li is survived by her daughter, two grandchildren, two sisters, and her brother. Most of her immediate family and close friends, who live in China, had been coordinating to fly out to California to attend her funeral, the GoFundMe said.

"Life's many twists and turns could not knock down my mother who is a pillar of strength and optimism, only the untimely fate of wicked gun violence," her daughter said in a note on the fundraiser. "May she now rest in peace now and stay forever in the hearts of the living!"

Chia Ling Yau, 76

Yau, also known as Charlie, was a happy, fun-loving man "who believed in living life to the fullest," his family said in a statement to NBC News.

He was a loving father, uncle, brother, and friend, who took every opportunity to revel in what life had to offer, they said.

"As a father, he was generous with words of love and affirmation," his family said. "He was always there for the family with a helping hand."

Yau had not planed to be at Star Ballroom that night, a friend told the LA Times. He and his three friends wanted to go to other new year celebrations, but couldn't find parking. They later went to the event at the dance studio. His friends survived the shooting, the LA Times reported.

Muoi Dai Ung, 67

Ung was a refugee from Vietnam who loved to dance, eat, and gamble — sometimes all three at once, her family said in a statement read out loud by city councilmember Thomas Wong at a vigil on Jan. 24.

"Much like our community, she was complicated, messy, easy to love and sometimes hard to understand from the outside," her family said.

Ung was a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and friend, a GoFundMe for her funeral expenses, created by her nephew and godson, said.

"She was sweet, kind, generous and displayed a passion to enjoy life, one that was heartlessly taken from her," the GoFundMe said. "She came to the states and reunited with her children just ten years ago. She was taken too soon from her children."


An earlier version of this article, using information provided by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner, misspelled Lilan Li's name. The story has also been updated with the victims' full names.

Skip to footer