Xiujuan Yu had by no means been to Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park earlier than Saturday night, however she accepted an invite from two pals to have fun the Lunar New 12 months there.
Yu, 57, emigrated from Guangdong province in China within the 2010s to begin a brand new life together with her household in the USA. She and her husband settled in Temple Metropolis however spent loads of time in close by Monterey Park.
“A lot of immigrants from China go to this area because there’s a central hub and there’s already a community built here,” Yu’s niece, Kathleen Fong, 22, informed The Instances in an interview. “There’s a strong sense of togetherness here.”
Monterey Park, referred to as America’s first suburban Chinatown, turned a “safe haven,” for the household, Fong mentioned.
That each one modified Saturday night time.
Yu attended the dance corridor’s Lunar New 12 months occasion with two of her pals and had arrived shortly earlier than the capturing started, in response to Fong. Certainly one of Yu’s pals went to the lavatory. When she returned, the buddy discovered that Yu and Lilan Li, 63, had been shot. Yu was mendacity on the ground and Li was slumped in a chair.
Fong mentioned Yu’s husband learn concerning the capturing on-line and began frantically calling Yu, however she didn’t decide up. He contacted Fong’s mother and father to ask for his or her assist to search out her. The three of them drove to completely different hospitals searching for Yu. Ultimately, they ended up on the Langley Heart, which was transformed by town right into a disaster response middle, in search of details about their beloved one.
The household discovered Monday that Yu had died at the studio and by no means made it to the hospital.
“I don’t know if she even spent an hour there, maybe less than an hour,” Fong mentioned. “It really is a feeling of wrong place, wrong time. It still doesn’t feel real at times.”
They’ve since created a GoFundMe page to boost cash for Yu’s funeral prices.
Yu and her husband had left their lives in China behind and started working labor-intensive odd jobs to attempt to help their household, in response to Fong. Yu had labored as a nanny for a number of households and her husband labored for a window manufacturing firm. They have been additionally concerned in restaurant work prior to now.
“They were able to help their twin daughters get into college, which is an amazing feat in and of itself,” Fong mentioned, including that Yu’s twin daughters are about 19 and attend Cal State Lengthy Seaside and Cal State Los Angeles. Yu’s son, who’s the eldest, is in his 30s.
Yu additionally beloved to cook dinner and a few of her favourite recipes embrace soy sauce duck, soy sauce rooster and sticky rice. Yu would usually drop off meals at her family’ properties unasked. As a result of Yu knew that her father preferred studying the newspaper and that he typically had bother strolling, she would exit of her method to purchase him the paper and drop it off so he wouldn’t have to go away dwelling.
“She was really diligent and hard-working,” Fong mentioned. “She was the type to put others before herself.”
Yu was the eldest of three sisters and Fong’s mom, who’s the youngest, has been struggling onerous together with her sister’s dying. Fong mentioned she’s seen her mom cry extra prior to now couple of days than she has in her whole life. When pictures of the capturing first started circulating on-line, Fong’s mom acknowledged a purse in a image and confirmed with Yu’s daughters that it was hers. They realized that the girl mendacity on the bottom was their beloved one.
“She broke down crying the way that I felt is indescribable,” Fong mentioned. “I just felt the sheer grief coming on the other end. It’s hard to hear your mom going through that.”
Fong mentioned she final noticed her aunt a few weeks in the past for a New 12 months’s Eve dinner, and had she identified it will be the final time she’d see her aunt alive, she would’ve spoken extra with Yu.
“I can’t imagine how impactful it is for my family, at least from my mom’s side, that the first child of the family is gone,” she mentioned. “The first child is always pretty important. That’s the moment when my grandparents became parents for the first time.”