MANILA, Philippines – The family of 68-year-old Valentino Alvero honored him as a “loving” and “dedicated” grandfather, father, son, and uncle as they mourned his death following a shooting incident at Monterey Park in California on Saturday, January 21.
Alvero, a US citizen of Filipino descent, was confirmed as one of at least 11 victims in a shooting rampage at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.
In an official statement, released by Valentino’s great niece Karmel Kwan on Tuesday, January 24 (Manila time), the Alvero family first condoled with other victims and their families over this “heart-shattering and life-altering” tragedy.
“Overnight, we became unwilling members of a community who has to mourn the loss of our loved ones due to gun violence. We are left frustrated, stuck with this vicious cycle,” the Alvero family said.
“Most importantly, please remember that Valentino is more than just a headline or a news story,” they said.
The family described Alvero as a loving father, a dedicated son and brother, a grandfather who loved his three granddaughters “fiercely,” and an uncle who loved his nieces and nephews like they were his own.
“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,” they said.
The family brought up Alvero’s love for dancing, his community, and how he was “the life of any party.”
We hope that he danced to his heart’s content until the very end and hope that he is now dancing in heaven.Alvero family on Valentino alvero’s death
The family also asked Catholics to pray for him by name: Valentino Marcos Alvero. They also asked for prayers for the souls of all victims of mass shootings, and for an end to mass shootings in the US and the world.
“He was a faithful servant of God and we know that he would want the world to lift his family in prayer more than anything,” the family said.
‘Shock and great sadness’
Earlier on Tuesday, the Philippine consulate general in Los Angeles expressed “shock and great sadness” over the incident.
“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,” the consulate said.
The consulate said it received news of Alvero’s death after closely monitoring the incident and sustained coordination with law enforcement, Filipino-American organizations, and the media.
“The Consulate General understands his family’s desire for privacy and space during this time of unimaginable difficulty. Nevertheless, we are ready to assist them in whatever possible way should they reach out for any help we could give,” the consulate said.
The consulate reminded the community to exercise vigilance “during these uncertain times,” to always monitor loved ones’ whereabouts, and immediately report any suspicious activities to local law enforcement.
Police identified Huu Can Tran, 72, as the lone suspect in the Saturday night massacre in the midst of a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, just east of Los Angeles.
He drove to another dance hall where a second attack was thwarted, and later killed himself as police closed in to make an arrest hours after the shooting. (READ: California shooting suspect was regular at Monterey Park dance studio)
Gun violence continues to plague the United States as mass shooting incidents are a regular appearance in news reports. Victims range across walks of life, from school children to elderly folk.
US President Joe Biden has urged Congress to ban assault weapons, expand background checks, and implement other sensible gun control measures to address a string of mass shootings that have struck the United States. – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com