SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Two mass shootings happening just hours apart, rocking the Asian American community to its core.
"It's very rare. It's really unheard of," said Justin Zhu.
Zhu is the executive director of San Francisco-based Stand with Asian Americans.
He says the attacks in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay have sent shockwaves through the local AAPI communityBack-to-back CA mass shootings 'send shockwaves' through AAPI community - particularly because of their timing, happening right at the start of the sacred Lunar New Year celebrations.
"For us to see this happen and to think that elderly Asians are committing these during this time really strikes close to our hearts and our families," Zhu said.
But Zhu says the attacks are just one part of the story.
He says the past several years have been difficult for many Asian Americans due to the pandemic and the spike in hate crimes that it fueled.
"This is a wake-up call for our community to check in on each other. To look at our mental health," Zhu said.
To commemorate the victims, vigils have been happening all around the Bay Area.
On Wednesday night alone, people gathered to places crosses in places like Santa Clara, as well as in Oakland where dozens gathered.
Carl Chan was one of those in attendance at the East Bay event.
He says some in the community are fearful that the recent mass shootings could spark retaliation.
"Some folks will be using this to start another wave of attacking the AAPI community," Chan said.
But as the trauma of the week begins to set in, Zhu and Chan say it's important for those both inside and outside of the AAPI community to show support.
Staying strong during a difficult time, while also not letting the past weigh them down.
"Please, don't let all these incidents stop us from doing what we do everyday. Because we have to move on," said Chan.
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