MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — The search for a gunman who killed 10 people at a ballroom dance club during Lunar New Year celebrations ended Sunday when authorities found him dead from a wound. of a self-inflicted bullet in the van from which he fled later. people foiled his attempt at a second shooting.
what you need to know
- Luna identified the suspect as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran.
- He said there are no other fugitive suspects.
- Luna said the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park left five women and five men dead and injured 10 other people.
- The shooting and manhunt sent a wave of fear through Asian-American communities in the Los Angeles area and cast a shadow over Lunar New Year festivities across the country.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the man as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran and said there were no other suspects on the run. Speaking at an evening news conference, he added that the motive for the attack, which injured 10 more, was not clear.
Luna did not have the exact ages of the victims, but said they all appeared to be in their 50s. Seven of the injured remained in the hospital, she said.
The sheriff added that the suspect was carrying what he described as a semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine, and a second handgun was discovered in the truck where Tran was found dead.
The shooting Saturday night in the predominantly Asian-American community of Monterey Park cast a shadow over New Year’s festivities and sent a wave of fear through Asian-American communities in the Los Angeles area. Other cities sent additional officers to monitor the celebrations.
Also speaking at the press conference, Congresswoman Judy Chu said she still has questions about the attack, but hopes residents now feel safe.
“The community was afraid that they should not go to any event because there was an active shooter,” Chu said, adding, “You are no longer in danger.”
“What was this shooter’s motive? Was he mentally ill? Was he a domestic violence abuser? How did he get these guns and was it through legal means or not?” said Congresswoman Judy Chu.
Early Sunday, law enforcement officers entered the van after circling it for hours before entering. The body of a person appeared to be slumped over the steering wheel and was later removed from the vehicle.
Luna previously posted photos of an Asian man believed to be the suspect.
The manhunt came after the gunman killed 10 people at a ballroom dance studio Saturday night amid Lunar New Year celebrations in the predominantly Asian-American community of Monterey Park. He likely unsuccessfully tried to target a second ballroom, authorities said.
The van was found in Torrance, another community that is home to many Asian Americans, about 22 miles from that second location.
The shooting sent a wave of fear through Asian-American communities in the Los Angeles area and cast a shadow over Lunar New Year festivities across the country. Other cities sent additional officers to monitor the celebrations.
“The community was afraid that they shouldn’t go to any event because there was an active shooter,” Chu said. He added that he now wants residents to feel safe. “Feel safe,” he told residents during a news conference Sunday night. You are no longer in danger.
Luna said the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park left five women and five men dead and injured 10 other people. Then, 20 to 30 minutes later, a gunman entered the Lai Lai dance hall in the nearby Alhambra.
The suspect entered the Alhambra club with a gun and people took the gun from him before he fled, Luna said.
Hours earlier, Luna said authorities were looking for a white van after witnesses reported seeing the suspect fleeing the Alhambra in the vehicle.
SWAT team members entered the van a short time later and checked its contents before driving away. It was not clear what they found.
The massacre was the fifth mass murder in the nation this month. It was also the deadliest attack since May 24, when 21 people were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Monterey Park is a city of approximately 60,000 in far east Los Angeles and is comprised primarily of first-generation Asian immigrants from China or Asian-Americans. The shooting occurred in the heart of its downtown area, where red lanterns decorated the streets for Lunar New Year festivities. A police car was parked near a large banner proclaiming “Happy Year of the Rabbit!”
The celebration at Monterey Park is one of the largest in California, drawing tens of thousands throughout the day.
Two days of festivities were planned, which have been attended by up to 100,000 people in recent years. But officials canceled Sunday’s events after the shooting.
Tony Lai, 35, of Monterey Park was stunned when he went for a walk early in the morning and learned that the noises he heard at night were gunshots.
“I thought maybe it was fireworks. I thought maybe it had something to do with Lunar New Year,” she said. “And we don’t even have a lot of fireworks here. It is rare to see this. It’s really safe here. We are right in the middle of the city, but it is very safe.”
Wynn Liaw, 57, who lives about two blocks from the Monterey Park studio, said she was shocked that such a crime would happen, especially during New Year’s celebrations.
“The Chinese consider Chinese New Year very, very special,” a time when “you don’t do anything unlucky all year long.”
He took a photo of the activity outside the studio to send to family and friends in China “to let them know how crazy America is getting with all these mass shootings, even in the New Year.”
An Associated Press/USA Today database of mass murders in the US shows that 2022 was one of the worst years in the nation in terms of mass murders, with 42 such attacks, the second most high since the tracker’s creation in 2006. The database defines a mass murder as four people killed not including the perpetrator.
The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.
President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were briefed on the situation, aides said. Biden said he and First Lady Jill Biden were thinking of the dead and injured, and he directed federal authorities to support the investigation.
The shooting occurred at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, a few blocks from City Hall on Monterey Park’s main drag, Garvey Avenue, which is dotted with small-business shopping malls whose signs are in English and Chinese. Both Cantonese and Mandarin are widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated, and Chinese movies are regularly shown in the city.
The business offered dance classes from tango to rumba to fox trot, and rented out its space for events. On Saturday, her website said that she was hosting an event called “Star Night” from 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.