Fil-Am among fatalities in Monterey Park massacre — PH Consulate

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — A 68-year-old Fil-Am was among at least 11 people killed in Monterey Park, California after a gunman opened fire at a Lunar New Year party over the weekend.

The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles confirmed the news on Tuesday, identifying the victim as Valentino Alvero, a US citizen of Filipino descent.

In a statement, the consulate expressed "shock and great sadness over the mass victims."

"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," it added.

It also said it understands the Alvero family's desire for privacy and space, but assured it is “ready to assist them in whatever possible way.”

Eleven people over age 50 died while nine others were wounded from the mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, which has a large Asian American community, CNN reported.

READ: How the Monterey Park shooting and manhunt for the gunman unfolded

Authorities identified the gunman as Huu Can Tran, a 72-year-old Chinese immigrant with a limited criminal history, including an arrest in 1990 for unlawful possession of a firearm.

He was described as having an interest in dance and a hot temper. His motive for killing has not yet been determined.

Less than a day after the massacre and following a standoff with police, the suspect was found dead inside a van with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

READ: What we know about the suspect in the Monterey Park massacre

The Philippine Consulate called on the Filipino community to exercise all caution and continue being vigilant, including by monitoring the whereabouts of loved ones and family members.

"Immediately report any suspicious activities to local law enforcement and watch out for each other," it said. "Let's stay safe."

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez also expressed concern over the incident, adding that authorities are already looking into the case.

“It’s something that it can happen to anyone and it’s unfortunate that it continues to happen, but I’m sure authorities are doing what they can,” Romualdez said. “It’s really very sad to hear this.”