RIDGEFIELD, N.J. -- The New Jersey.is raising anxiety in Asian American communities across the county, including in
The H Mart in Ridgefield is where many were wrapping up last-minute food shopping Saturday, right before news of the shooting broke.
"The fact it could happen anywhere and can happen to anyone is something that really terrifies me," said Kevin Tang.
Tang, whose mother is a first-generation immigrant from China, said no matter the motive, the tragedy has intensified fears in the Asian American community, which has seen an alarming increase in hate crimes over the past several years.
"My mom used to work in Brooklyn when she was in her 30s and now she's afraid of even going to Manhattan," said Tang, 23.
"It's not just the anti-Asian hate angle that we need to address. It's just hate in general," said Fort Lee Councilman Paul Yoon.
Yoon said this violence is a sad reminder that Asian Americans have to continue to be vigilant, even when so many families gather to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
"It's very festive. It's a celebration of culture, celebration of all sorts of different things, and nobody would expect something tragic like this to happen," said Yoon.
State Assemblywoman Ellen Park has family in the California community dealing with the senseless loss of people. She's sad and angry the suspect had access to what authorities call a magazine-fed assault style pistol.
"I really hope that we wake up as a society and that we really work together to ban assault rifles, assault guns, any kind of guns that can shoot out 10, 20 bullets at a time," said Park.
Political leaders across the state condemned the violence in California and vowed to do their share to stop gun violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans.
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