[Breaking news update, published at 8:30 p.m.]
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said investigators confirmed the man found dead inside a white cargo van after a confrontation with police in Torrance, Calif., is the same person suspected of carrying out a mass shooting. in Monterey Park on Saturday night.
Luna said that after the standoff, officers found the man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Luna identified the suspect as Huu Can Tran, 72.
[Previous story, published at 7:35 p.m.]
A man trapped in a white van in Torrance, Calif., believed to be linked to the Monterey Park dance studio shooting, is dead, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Investigators are trying to determine if the man is the same man who killed 10 people in Monterey Park, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said. SWAT officers had been in an hours-long standoff at the van’s location.
Several law enforcement sources told The Times that the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and at least two bullet holes were visible in the driver’s side window moments before they approached the vehicle.
Police have not publicly confirmed whether the occupant is dead.
When authorities ordered the occupant out of the van, they heard a sound and believed the driver might have shot himself, law enforcement sources told CNN.
CNN crews on site in Torrance have yet to see the driver removed from the van since SWAT teams entered.
A press conference to discuss the mass shooting will be held Sunday at 4:30 pm (7:30 pm ET) at the Monterey Park City Hall.
For hours, authorities searched for the gunman who opened fire at a Monterey Park dance studio as the city’s large Asian-American community celebrated the Lunar New Year weekend.
A gun recovered by police in a nearby town shortly after the shooting was attributed to the suspect, who provided authorities with his name and description, according to a police officer with knowledge of the case.
In addition to the 10 people killed, 10 others were injured and hospitalized, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert G. Luna.
“Who walks into a dance hall and shoots 20 people?” said the sheriff.
• It is still unclear whether one or more gunmen opened fire in Monterey Park, Luna said.
• A group of people wrested a gun from a man described as an Asian male at a dance studio in the nearby town of Alhambra shortly after the Monterey Park mass shooting, Luna said. The sheriff said investigators are trying to determine if the two incidents are related.
• Early reports suggest the gunman who killed 10 people in Monterey Park may be an Asian male, the sheriff said. Although “the description we have now is of an Asian male,” some witnesses’ descriptions of the shooter differed, Luna said. He warned that the investigation is ongoing. “Actually, there’s a lot more we don’t know than we do at this point,” Luna said.
• It’s too early to rule out hate crime as a possible motive, the sheriff said Sunday. “It’s all on the table.”
• Deputies responded to a dance studio around 10:22 pm Saturday and found people “leaving the venue, screaming,” said Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
• The massacre took place at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, according to a CNN analysis.
• The 10 victims killed were pronounced dead at the scene, Meyer said. “There were at least 10 other victims who were transported to various local hospitals and are listed in various conditions from stable to critical,” Meyer said.
The gun snatched from the man at the Alhambra was a Cobray M11 9mm semi-automatic handgun, according to the officer. This firearm was designed to carry 30-round magazines that allow for rapid fire without the need to change cartridges frequently.
The carnage took place near the Lunar New Year festival in Monterey Park, which was scheduled to run until 9 pm on Garvey Avenue, between Garfield and Alhambra avenues.
About 65% of Monterey Park residents are of Asian descent, according to the US Census Bureau.
While it’s unclear whether the separate incidents at Monterey Park and the Alhambra are connected and involve the same suspect, “that’s the working theory right now,” according to John Miller, CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst.
First, Miller said, police will test a shot using the gun recovered at the Alhambra that people snatched from the suspect.
“This will give the ATF the ability to do an immediate shell comparison to see if this weapon matches the one used in Monterey Park,” Miller said. “A match, of course, connects the two incidents most definitively. If there is no match, it could mean that the same suspect had multiple guns and simply walked into the second location with a different one.”
While it’s too early to say whether the massacre was a hate crime, the impact has already been felt among one of the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the US, the mayor of nearby Alhambra said.
“Having this tragedy occur over the Lunar New Year weekend makes this especially heartbreaking,” said Alhambra Mayor Sasha Renée Pérez. tweeted.
“Monterey Park is home to one of the largest #AAPI communities in the country. This is a time when residents should celebrate with family, friends and loved ones – without fearing gun violence.”
Monterey Park, about seven miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is known for hosting Lunar New Year events drawing more than 100,000 people from across Southern California, according to the city.
It is not clear how many people were still gathered in the area when the shots were fired.
“Monterey Park should have had a night of joyous Lunar New Year celebration. Instead, they were victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. tweeted.
The local Lunar New Year festival, which began Saturday and was scheduled to run through Sunday, has been canceled, Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said Sunday.
“Out of an abundance of caution and reverence for the victims, we are canceling the event later today,” Wiese said.
Authorities are asking the public for any leads that might help with the investigation. Those with information may contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide at 323-890-5500 or file an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
The Monterey Park massacre marks at least the 33rd mass shooting in the US so far this month, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Both the nonprofit and CNN define a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter.
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