(CNN) – California is now reeling from three mass shootings in just three days. Most recently, a gunman killed at least seven people at a mushroom farm and trucking business in the small northern California town of Half Moon Bay.
To the south, in Monterey Park, the victims’ families are still in shock after Saturday night’s shooting.
In the cool glow of candlelight, the Monterey Park community gathered to honor the 11 dead, nine of whom are still recovering.
With flowers, balloons and tributes, a vigil following a mass shooting has become routine, except when gathering for loved ones.
“The one we have, I just want to see if this one’s okay?” said Val Anthony Alvero, helping to choose the photo that best represents his father.
The 11 victims were in their 50s, 60s and 70s. (KCAL, KCBS, Nhan and Quan Family, Kristina Hayes, Joann Chui, Alvero Family, RMG News)
“Yes, that’s a good picture,” he said. “I think it represents his attitude towards everything.”
Always optimistic and caring for others: This is how Val Anthony Alvero sums up his father and namesake Valentino Alvero or Val.
He said the 68-year-old hospitality worker hopes to retire in about a year and plans to return to his native Philippines.
In his spare time he was at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio and moved to music.
“Oh yes! He danced around the house and sang. He loved stuff like that,” said the younger Alvero.
Video posted to social media last year shows one of the many happy gatherings at the dance studio.
On Saturday night, as the elder Alvero and dozens of others celebrated the Lunar New Year, gunfire interrupted the music, destroying so many lives.
Val Anthony Alvero said he heard about the shooting Sunday morning.
When asked if he thought maybe someone I know was involved, he said: “No, definitely not. … When I read the article and heard that it was about a dance studio, it came to my mind. … Because he’s not the type to run away from danger when other people are in danger. When I knew he was there, it was very likely that he was either injured or sadly one of those who died.”
Valentino Alvero was among the dead in the studio along with 10 others.
Mymy Nhan’s family wrote in a statement that “Saturday was her last dance,” adding, “If you knew her, you knew her warm smile was contagious. She was a loving aunt, sister, daughter and friend.”
Her dance teacher, Maksym Kapitanchuk, said: “Well, the first thing that comes to mind is her smile. She would always smile. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without her smile. Even through the mask I can see her eyes smiling.”
While Val Anthony Alvero said he wanted to know more about his father’s final moments, he said anger didn’t really show up.
“I don’t think there’s any point in being angry in this situation,” he said. “What happened, happened. You can not change it. I just want it to come out better, right? I think that’s the biggest thing I want to take away from other people, and I think no matter what the situation, it’s always so important to just appreciate the time you have with other people.”
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