monterey park mass shooting

Monterey Park Gunman Had No Known Connection to Victims, Sheriff Says

Authorities provide more details about the tragic series of events that unfolded on Lunar New Year in Monterey Park.

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The 72-year-old man who opened fire inside a Southern California dance hall during a night of Lunar New Year celebrations had no known connection with any of the victims, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said Wednesday.

The revelation was among several new details about the investigation announced by Sheriff Robert Luna during a late evening news conference. The shooting left 11 people, ranging in age from 57 to 76, dead at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park and injured nine.

Luna said authorities have yet to determine why Huu Can Tran targeted the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

"We do not believe the suspect has frequented the dance studio in the past five years," Luna said. "They have not been able to establish a connection between the suspect and any of the victims so far."

Luna said the shooter did not appear to target the victims specifically.

"It doesn’t make sense," Luna said. "It really doesn’t."

Luna said it wasn’t clear how long Tran had been planning the attack, adding that it is still early on in the investigation and authorities are still going through all the evidence they have like electronics, paperwork and video from inside Star Dance Studio.

Tran, who lived in Hong Kong, had been in the U.S. for seven or eight years. His only known criminal history was a 1990 arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm but there was no indication of a conviction.

Note: Mass shootings are defined as events where at least four people are shot, either injured or killed, not including the shooter, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Source: Gun Violence Archive, 2023 mass shootings
Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Weapons Recovered in Monterey Park Shooting

Luna shared new images of the weapons used by 72-year-old during Saturday's shooting and said the shooter parked a motorcycle just a block from the ballroom, which he had planned to use as a backup getaway vehicle.

Luna displayed for the first time photos of the three firearms recovered in the mass shooting investigation. According to Luna, the Cobray Cm 11-9 also known as a MAC-10 was not registered in California. It was purchased by Tran in Monterey Park in 1999.

"This was the weapon that was recovered in Alhambra that the suspect used to kill 11 victims and injure the other nine," Luna said.

About 20 minutes after the Star ballroom shooting, the shooter went to a dance hall in Alhambra where he was confronted by a man who disarmed him during a scuffle in the lobby. That man's actions likely saved lives, Luna said.

Detectives also recovered a rifle and the pistol which they say Tran used to shoot himself in the white cargo van in Torrance.

Monterey Park Shooter Used 'Spraying Motion'

Investigators also revealed new details about how Tran carried out the attack once he entered the Star Dance Studio.

"As far as the positioning in the room, he did a spraying motion with the firearm," said Capt. Andrew Meyer, with the LA Sheriff's Department.

Luna also detailed how they believe Tran gave himself another escape route.

"Earlier today Monterey Park police recovered a motorcycle in the 200 block of S Garfield Avenue in the city of Monterey Park," Luna said. "Investigators believe it was placed there by the suspect as an alternative getaway vehicle."

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