Another 10 injured, 1 critically, after man opens fire at Lunar New Year celebrations
The hunt for a gunman who killed 10 people at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance hall ended Sunday when authorities found the suspect dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the van he used to flee the scene of a second attempted attack.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the man as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran and said no other suspects were at large. He added that the motive for the attack, which wounded 10 more, remained unclear.
The weapon suspected to have been used was identified as a magazine-fed semi-automatic assault pistol, which was also found in the van.
"I still have questions in my mind, which is: What was the motive for this shooter? Did he have a mental illness? Was he a domestic violence abuser? How did he gets these guns and was it through legal means or not?" Congresswoman Judy Chu said.
The sheriff said that Tran turned a handgun on himself on Sunday as police approached a white van he was driving in Torrance, about 34 kilometres from the site of the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif. Officers heard a single gunshot from the van as they approached, then fell back and called for a SWAT team.
'You are no longer in danger'
Luna did not identify any of the victims but said the five men and five women appeared to be in their 50s, 60s and beyond.
Another 10 people were shot, and seven of them remain hospitalized, with at least one person in critical condition, authorities said.
The sheriff said the pistol Tran used appeared to be illegal in California, where state laws ban any magazine holding more than 10 rounds.
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 around the country. Other cities sent extra officers to watch over the celebrations.
"The community was in fear thinking that they should not go to any events because there was an active shooter," Chu said. She added that she wants residents to now feel secure. "Feel safe," she said to residents during a press conference late Sunday. "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 wounded another 10 people. Then 20 to 30 minutes later, a man with a gun entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra.
The suspect entered the Alhambra club with a gun, and people wrested the weapon away from him before he fled, Luna said.
"I can tell you that the suspect walked in there, probably with the intent to kill more people, and two brave community members decided they were going to jump into action and disarm him," Luna said.
Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people that sits at the eastern edge of Los Angeles. About two-thirds of the residents are Asian American.
The celebration in the city is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California. Two days of festivities were planned but officials cancelled Sunday's events following the shooting.
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. "Chinese people, they consider Chinese New Year very, very special" — a time when "you don't do anything that will bring bad luck the entire year."
The tragedy marked not just the fifth mass killing in the U.S. since the start of the year but is also 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.
Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting happened, told The Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.
A gunman killed 10 people and wounded several others at a dance studio in Monterey Park, Calif. The suspect fled the scene and was found dead after a tense, hours-long manhunt.
The people said to Choi that there was a shooter with a gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him.
Wong Wei, who lives nearby, told The Los Angeles Times that his friend was in a bathroom at the dance club when the shooting started. When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies.
"Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year. Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
My heart breaks for the people of Monterey Park, California – whose Lunar New Year celebrations were violently attacked and whose lives have been forever changed. I’m sending my condolences to the families and friends of the victims, and I’m keeping the injured in my thoughts. <a href="https://t.co/vt1nB0sfXq">https://t.co/vt1nB0sfXq</a>
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent condolences to the victims, saying his "heart breaks for the people of Monterey Park, California – whose Lunar New Year celebrations were violently attacked and whose lives have been forever changed."
A previous version of this story indicated that a weapon was wrestled away from the suspect at the Monterey Park dance studio, according to authorities. In fact, it was the Alhambra dance studio.Jan 22, 2023 1:03 PM ET
With files from CBC News and Reuters
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca