The man who fatally shot 10 people at a Southern California dance studio was once a regular there, even meeting his ex-wife there, three people who knew him told CNN.
Police say Huu Can Tran, 72, opened fire at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park on Saturday night before killing himself following a manhunt in the area on Sunday.
His ex-wife said in an interview that she met Tran about two decades ago at the dance studio, a popular community hangout where he held informal classes. Tran saw her at a dance, introduced herself and offered free lessons, she said.
The two got married shortly after they met, according to the ex-wife, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the case. Although Tran was never violent towards her, she said he could get angry quickly. For example, she said, if she messed up a dance move, he would get upset because he thought it made him look bad. She said that after several years together, she had the impression that he had lost interest in her. Her sister, who also asked not to be named, confirmed the report.
It was unclear how often, if any, Tran had visited the dance hall in recent years.
Tran filed for divorce in late 2005, and a judge approved the divorce the following year, Los Angeles court records show.
Tran was an immigrant from China, according to a copy of his marriage certificate his ex-wife showed CNN.
A 5-minute drive from your home: Another longtime acquaintance of Tran also remembers him as a frequent fixture at the dance studio. The friend, who also asked not to be identified, was close with Tran in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when he said Tran would make the approximately 5-minute drive from his home in San Gabriel to the Star Ballroom Dance Studio “almost every night .”
Tran used to complain at the time that the dance hall instructors didn’t like him and said “bad things about him”, the friend recalled, adding that Tran was “unfriendly to a lot of people there”.
In general, Tran was easily irritated, complained a lot and didn’t seem to trust people, the friend said.
Tran sometimes worked as a truck driver, according to his ex-wife.
Business records show that Tran registered a company called Tran’s Trucking Inc. in California in 2002. But he dissolved the company about two years later, writing in a corporate filing that he had never acquired any known assets or incurred known debts or liabilities.
Bought a mobile home in Hemet: In 2013, Tran sold his San Gabriel home that he had owned for more than two decades, property records show.
Seven years later, the records show, Tran bought a mobile home in a seniors’ community in Hemet, Calif., an outlying suburb about 85 miles east of Los Angeles.
Tran’s friend said he hadn’t seen Tran in several years and was “utterly shocked” when he heard about the shooting.
“I know a lot of people, and if they go to Star Studio, they go there,” the friend said, adding that he was “worried I might know some of the” victims of the shooting.
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