Monterey Park shooting: 10 killed in Lunar New Year celebration, suspect killed from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound

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The suspect in a shooting in Monterey Park, Calif., that left 10 people dead and 10 others injured has died, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said on Sunday. The suspect, identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Luna said.

Luna said on Sunday that police were dealing with a “suspicious barricaded situation” in the town of Torrance. Officers stopped a white van at 10:20 am local time on Sunday, Luna said. The van then pulled into a shopping center parking lot and police heard a single gunshot from inside the vehicle, according to Luna. The officers, who were seen wearing tactical gear and body armor, boarded the van at 12:52 pm and found the suspect dead.

A gun was recovered from inside the van, Luna said.

Police said there are no outstanding suspects and they are still unclear as to why.

Luna said five men and five women were killed and 10 others were wounded in the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night. Then, 20 to 30 minutes later, the suspect entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra.

Shortly after 10 pm on Saturday, officers arrived at the scene of the shooting in response to a call of gunfire and found 10 people injured outside Star Dance Studio. The 10 injured were transported to local hospitals, where seven of them remained until Sunday night, Luna said. All of the victims appeared to be at least 50 years old, Luna said Sunday night.

Luna said a magazine-fed semi-automatic assault pistol with a large-capacity extended magazine was recovered from the Alhambra site. He said he believed such weapons were not legal in California, but that more “research” was needed.

“He went in there with a firearm and some individuals took the gun away from him, and this individual fled,” Luna said on Sunday.

The dramatic scene involving the white van was captured by news helicopters, with several armored vehicles positioned in front, to the side and behind the van, with police in uniform and body armor behind one of the vehicles.

shooting in california
SWAT personnel surround an unseen van in Torrance, California, Sunday, January 22, 2023. A mass shooting occurred at a nightclub following the Lunar New Year celebration, starting a manhunt for the suspect.

Damião Dovarganes / AP

Luna said Sunday afternoon that a victim center had been set up and asked anyone who suspected a family member was in the ballroom.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 located in the east end of Los Angeles. Most of its residents are Asian immigrants or their descendants, mostly 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 full of small businesses whose signs are in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated and Chinese films are shown in the city.

shooting in california
Investigators gather at a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, California, on Sunday, January 22, 2023.

Jae C. Hong / AP

Federal agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are on the scene assisting local law enforcement, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden has been updated on the shooting.

“Jill and I are thinking of those killed and wounded in last night’s mass shooting in Monterey Par,” Biden said in a statement Sunday night. “While we still don’t know much about the reason for this senseless attack, we do know that many families are mourning tonight or praying that their loved ones recover from their injuries.”

Biden ordered the flags flown at half-mast until sunset on Thursday.

Local resident Wong Wei told the Los Angeles Times that his friend was at the dance studio and she was in the bathroom when the shooting started. When she came out of the bathroom, she saw a gunman and three bodies – two women and a person he said was the head of the studio.

The friend then fled to his home around 11 pm, Wei said, adding that his friends told him the gunman appeared to be shooting indiscriminately with a long gun. “They don’t know why, so they run away,” he told the newspaper.

Peter Fong, a friend of “Mr. Ma”, one of the instructors at the dance studio, told CBS News that “Mr. Ma” was one of the people killed in the shooting. None of the victims had been officially identified as of Sunday night.

Employees were also investigating a second incident took place shortly after the Monterey Park shooting about two miles away in the town of Alhambra to see if the two were connected.

Preliminary reports indicated that detectives were searching the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio at the Alhambra early Sunday morning, where an armed suspect – possibly matching the Monterey Park shooter’s description – entered before being disarmed by patrons and fleeing. According to CBS Los Angeles, authorities were trying to determine whether the suspect left the scene of the Monterey Park shooting and went to the Alhambra dance studio. No one was injured in the second scene, authorities said.

Two law enforcement sources told CBS News that investigators were conducting ballistic analysis of the gun found at the Alhambra site to try to determine whether the gun is connected to the Monterey Park shooting and whether the person was the same suspect. The weapon recovered from the Alhambra was not an assault weapon, police said.

A neighbor of the Monterey Park studio told CBS Los Angeles the shots sounded like fireworks, but due to the celebrations in the area, he didn’t think much of it at the time.

The festival in Monterey Park has been canceled for Sunday, officials said.

Videos posted on social media showed people being loaded onto stretchers and loaded into ambulances. Other photos showed bloodied and bandaged victims being treated by Monterey Park firefighters in a parking lot.

Pat Milton contributed reports.

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