Monterey Park mass shooting

Suspect in Monterey Park Lunar New Year Celebration Shooting Identified as 72-Year-Old Man

The LA County Sheriff identified the suspect in the shooting that left 10 dead and 10 others hurt as a 72-year-old.

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What to Know

  • At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire Saturday night at a Monterey Park dance studio. 
  • The shooting happened after a night of Lunar New Year festivities in the community east of Los Angeles.
  • The suspect was found dead Sunday in a white cargo van in Torrance.

A 72-year-old man was identified as the suspected mass shooter who took a semi-automatic weapon and opened fire at a dance studio in the LA neighborhood of Monterey Park after a Lunar New Year celebration Saturday night.

LA County Sheriff Robert Luna said 72-year-old Huu Can Tran died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a white cargo van he was driving in Torrance after he was pulled over by officers.

Feel safe. You are no longer in danger because this shooter is gone.

Rep. Judy Chu, at a later afternoon news conference Sunday.

It still wasn't clear what a motive might have been in the devastating shooting that left 10 people dead and 10 others hurt.

The Sheriff's Department said Tran was the suspected shooter who entered the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park around 10:22 p.m. Saturday night and interrupted a Lunar New Year countdown.

The gunman came in and opened fire with what was believed to be a MAC-10, which is a compact submachine gun. They haven't been sold in California for decades, the NBC4 I-Team reported.

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Victims have not yet been identified, but Luna described some as being in their 50s and 60s, maybe older. Some witnesses described seeing people running and screaming from the dance hall.

"First I thought it was firecrackers and later I saw people fall down," one witness said. "People in the ballroom started running."

Some of the victims were found in the parking lot.

10 Killed at Lunar New Year Shooting in Monterey Park: Photos

The suspect then fled to Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in the 100 block of South Garfield Avenue in Alhambra, about 2 miles north of the Monterey Park location.

Once at the Alhambra dance studio, people were able to stop the suspect and disarm him.

He fled, and later Sunday morning was discovered in a white cargo van in Torrance across from the Del Amo mall.

Authorities surrounded a van at a Torrance strip mall.

The van or its plates had likely been stolen, Sheriff Luna said.

The suspect was pulled over in the van, and by the time SWAT vehicles had approached, the man appeared slumped over the steering wheel.

SWAT officers eventually smashed a window of the van and opened its doors.

Inside, authorities found a sleeping bag, luggage, and other items indicating he might have been planning to spend an extended period of time in the van.

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The motive behind the shooting remains publicly unknown.

Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said it’s too early in the investigation to know if the gunman knew anyone at the dance hall. The area in the western San Gabriel Valley is home to one of the largest Asian American Pacific Islander populations in the United States.

The shooting was the worst mass shooting in Los Angeles County since a man killed 10 people, including himself, in Covina in 2008.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people that sits at the eastern edge of Los Angeles. The majority of its residents are Asian immigrants or their descendants, most of them Chinese. The dance studio in downtown Monterey Park is just a few blocks from city hall on its main thoroughfare of Garvey Avenue, which is dotted with strip malls that are full of small businesses whose signs are in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated, and Chinese films are screened in the city.

Residents of Monterey Park, Calif., react to the mass shooting that left at least 10 people dead on Saturday night.

The tragedy marked not just the fifth mass killing in the U.S. since the start of the year but also is the deadliest since May 24, 2022 - when 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S. The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.

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