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Oregon Vietnamese American lawmaker shares thoughts on California mass shooting

Representative Thuy Tran has friends who live in Monterey Park, California and she knew the victims in the deadly mass shooting.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A deadly mass shooting in Los Angeles has left 11 people dead and several injured. 

It happened at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio late Saturday night in the town of Monterey Park, California during a Lunar New Year celebration. 

Oregon Representative Thuy Tran has friends who live in the area and said the Asian communities in Oregon and California are very connected. 

"My friend Elizabeth Yang is a community member in the area and a small business owner and her friend's brother is the one who got shot," Tran said. 

Tran said these acts of senseless violence are starting to hit close to home. 

RELATED: These are the victims of the Monterey Park shooting

"I hope this shooting does not become representative of what the new normal could be," Tran said. "It is very sad for the communities in Southern California."

Elizabeth Yang is a friend of Tran's and lives in the area around where the shooting happened in Monterey Park. She owns Yang Law Offices which is right across the street from the ballroom where the shooting happened. Yang said she's also a member at the ballroom and knows a lot of the victims. 

"One of the victims we found out died yesterday was our dance teacher Mr. Ma, he was a crucial part of the dance studio for many years," Yang said. 

RELATED: Monterey Park shooter had gun arrest, extra ammo

The suspect killed himself in a van that authorities say he used to flee after attempting to attack a second dance studio. 

This was the nation's fifth mass shooting this month. 

Yang said she does not think this was a hate crime because the suspect was part of the community and had been ballroom dancing at the studio for twenty years.

 "Very likely this was a case of mental health because why else would a 72-year-old man decide to shoot up two dance studios," Yang said. 

Yang said this was the cities' first Lunar New Year celebration in three years due to the pandemic. 

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