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February 28, 2024
Monterey Park shooting survivor continues to honor dance partner who shielded her during attack


ARCADIA, Calif. (KABC) — A couple in Arcadia continue to remember and honor their friend who died when a gunman opened fire inside a Monterey Park dance studio one year ago.

Eleven people were killed in the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio last January, including Shally and Francois’ friend Andy.

Shally and Yu Lun Kao, known as Andy, knew each other for 15 years and were dance partners.

“Before I married her she told me ‘I need to go dancing on the weekend with this guy, with Andy. So if you want to marry me you have to accept Andy as my dance partner’ and I said OK,” Francois recalled to Eyewitness News.

Shally and Andy’s last dance happened on the night of the shooting, when Andy was shot in the back as he shielded Shally from bullets.

“That night when she called me, I didn’t understand nothing because I was home, and she said ‘I’m OK, I’m OK. Andy passed away,'” Francois recounted as he wiped away tears. “And I’m telling her, what are you talking about?”

For months, Shally couldn’t get herself to walk back into a ballroom until one day last summer. Step by step, Shally is finding her rhythm again.

“When you go there you don’t think too much. The music that’s on, you almost forget everything,” Shally said.

But there are a couple of things she can’t forget.

“First of all, when we go in we don’t want to sit close to the door,” she said.

“After he passed away we were thinking life is too short,” she added.

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Shally and Francois recently held a special fundraiser at their doughnut shop, Arcadia Donuts. The proceeds went to the MPK Hope Resiliency Center nonprofit, where Shally goes for mental health therapy.

The first customer who walked in ordered 20 dozen donuts.

“Nobody can control what other people gonna do, but you know if we’re strong and we get together, we will come together,” Panadda “Pinky” Wong of the MPK Hope Resiliency Center said. “The community will get stronger.”

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