Monterey Park: Ten people were killed at a ballroom dance hall in Monterey Park before the gunman fled. He was eventually found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound
The gunman opened fire on Sunday (January 22nd) at a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, California, before fleeing. Twenty to thirty minutes later, a man with a gun entered another dance venue in nearby Alhambra, California. People at the second ballroom wrestled the gun away from him — and the suspect fled once again. Authorities said they believed the two incidents were connected.
Soon after, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released CCTV images of the suspected gunman, believed to be a man of Asian descent, wearing spectacles, dressed in a dark jacket and a dark beanie hat with white stripes. The shooter was later identified to be 72-year-old Huu Can Tran.
Authorities said they were still investigating the motive behind the Saturday night shooting. Despite the gunman being of Asian descent himself, authorities are not ruling out possibilities of the shooting being a hate crime or a deadly incident of domestic violence.
“Everything is on the table,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said. “Who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people?”
Gunman Found Dead after Shooting Himself in White Van
Witnesses to the shooting described a white cargo van that was linked to the shooting. On Sunday morning, Torrance police officers attempted to stop a vehicle near Hawthorne and Sepulveda boulevards that matched the description of the van from the witness account. Authorities say Tran died after shooting himself in the van that the police had surrounded.
Images of the scene showed what appeared to be two bullet holes in the drivers-side window of the van and the driver slumped over the steering wheel.
“Investigators conducted a search of the vehicle and determined the male inside the van was the mass shooting suspect,” Luna said at a press conference. He added, “During the search, several pieces of evidence were found inside the van, linking the suspect to both locations in Monterey Park and Alhambra. In addition, a handgun was discovered inside the van.”
Monterey Park and Alhambra: Two Towns With Majority Asian-Americans Population
Monterey Park and Alhambra are both majority-Asian American towns outside of Los Angeles. Monterey Park was in fact the first on mainland US to have a majority of residents with Asian ancestry. The shooting had a profound impact on their community, as Alhambra Mayor Sasha Renée Perez explained.
“To have this tragedy occur on Lunar New Year weekend, makes this especially painful,” Pérez tweeted.
United States President, Joe Biden, also released a statement:
“... Even as we continue searching for answers about this attack, we know how deeply this attack has impacted the AAPI community. Monterey Park is home to one of the largest AAPI communities in America, many of whom were celebrating the Lunar New Year along with loved ones and friends this weekend.”