Police are investigating motive after Monterey Park massacre leaves 10 dead and a city reeling during Lunar New Year celebrations.
The majority-Asian community in Monterey Park, California, was devastated on the eve of its Lunar New Year celebration when a gunman opened fire inside a ballroom dance studio on Saturday night, killing 10 people and injuring 10 others. Investigators are still looking for the gunman’s motivation.
The gunman had not yet been apprehended, and some victims had not been reunited with their loved ones, so the chaos continued into Sunday. The second day of the city’s Lunar New Year celebration, which is typically one of its most joyful holidays, was ultimately canceled.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna on Sunday, a suspect named Huu Can Tran, 72, was eventually located in the nearby city of Torrance. There, he was shot to death as police approached his vehicle.
According to the sheriff, a gunman had entered Star Ballroom Dance Studio hours earlier, shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, shortly after the city’s streets had been clogged with thousands of festivalgoers.
According to Luna, the gunman drove to a second dance hall in Alhambra, where he entered with a firearm but fled after being disarmed by two patrons, firing a barrage of shots at those inside.
According to city police chief Scott Wiese, when police arrived at the dance studio in Monterey Park less than three minutes after the initial call for assistance, “they came across a scene that none of them had been prepared for.” He stated that the shooter had caused “extensive” damage, causing chaos as people fled the building with the injured and dead inside.
Three people who knew the suspect told CNN that he used to frequent the dance hall, where he gave informal dance lessons and met his ex-wife.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot without the shooter, the incident is one of the deadliest in California’s history and was at least the 33rd in the United States so far this year. Many people who thought that Monterey Park was a safe haven for the large Asian community that has settled there were shocked by the violence.
Rep. Judy Chu, who represents Monterey Park in Congress, told CNN on Sunday, “I’ve lived here for 37 years, and I could never have imagined such a terrible thing happening.” She added, “This is a tight-knit community and it has been very peaceful all these years, so that’s why it is even more shattering to have this happen.”
None of the victims or injured have been identified by authorities. Luna stated that the coroner’s office is still attempting to identify the deceased so that the police can notify their families, noting that the majority of the victims are over 50. He stated that seven of the injured victims were still in the hospital on Sunday.
What we know thus far:
In a nearby city, a suspect was found: According to Luna, at approximately 10:20 a.m. on Sunday, police in the city of Torrance, which is approximately 30 miles southwest of Monterey Park, observed a white cargo van that matched the description of one that was seen leaving the Alhambra dance studio. He claimed that officers retreated when they heard a gunshot from inside the van after following the van into a shopping center parking lot and beginning to get out of their patrol car to approach the driver, who was later identified as Tran. The van was eventually cleared by armored vehicles and SWAT teams, who discovered Tran dead inside.
Suspect is linked to shooting by evidence: The sheriff stated, without providing any additional details, that inside the van, investigators discovered “several pieces of evidence” linking Tran to both the Monterey Park and Alhambra dance studios. Luna stated that they also discovered a gun. The armed man was allegedly wrestled from the Alhambra dance studio, according to police.
The suspect had a weapon that was semi-automatic: Luna described the “magazine-fed semi-automatic assault pistol” with an extended, large-capacity magazine that was taken from the man in Alhambra. CNN was informed by a law enforcement official that the weapon was a Cobray M11 9mm semi-automatic.
Unknown motivation: Luna stated that although the motive has not yet been established, investigators will take into account any relevant criminal or mental health records and issue a search warrant to acquire additional information. A spokesperson for the Hemet Police Department confirmed that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has obtained a search warrant for Tran’s residence in Hemet, California, which is approximately 80 miles east of Monterey Park.
Numerous state governors and national leaders expressed their support for the community and demanded action to reduce gun violence as the details of the shooting emerged on Sunday. The shooting was described as a “senseless act” by President Joe Biden.
“We are aware of how profoundly this attack has affected the (Asian American Pacific Islander) community even as we continue to look for answers regarding this attack. One of the largest AAPI communities in the United States is located in Monterey Park, where many people spent this past weekend celebrating the Lunar New Year with loved ones and friends.