Asian dance hall massacre: California police looking into possible motives
Investigators in California were working overtime on Monday to determine why an elderly shooter killed 10 people in a dance club popular with senior citizens of Asian descent before shooting himself to death hours later.
Huu Can Tran, 72, was named by police as the suspect in the Saturday night massacre, which happened during the Lunar New Year, one of the most joyous occasions in Asian cultures.
When it comes to the shooting’s motivation, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna stated on Sunday that “everything is on the table.” The shooting left 10 other people injured.
Who walks into a dance hall and shoots twenty people to death? We don’t know if this was a hate crime as defined by law. Moon said.
Attempts to identify the 10 victims Tran is accused of killing at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, about 7 miles (11 km) east of downtown Los Angeles, continued into Monday. Seven of the ten victims of the attack were still hospitalized as of late Sunday.
The rage of Tran might have been worse. He went inside the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio dance club in the neighboring city of Alhambra about 20 minutes after the shooting in Monterey Park. Before the shooter could fire, Brandon Tsay, the owner of the family-run dance hall, wrestled a weapon from him.
The gunman left the scene after a 90-second struggle, according to Tsay, who told the New York Times that “that moment, it was primal instinct.” “There was a happening. I have no idea what has struck me.”
A white cargo van that Tran was operating was approached by police officers in Torrance, which is 20 miles southwest of Monterey Park, about 12 hours later. When police approached the van, they heard Tran shoot himself once inside.
The names of the five men and five women, who according to Luna appeared to be in their 50s, 60s, and beyond, were withheld. According to the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office, two women in their sixties, My Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63, were among the victims. Ming Wei Ma, a dance instructor, was one of the fatalities, according to ABC News.
Monday night’s candlelight vigil in memory of the victims was planned for Monterey Park’s City Hall.
Due to its magazine’s capacity exceeding the legal limit of 10 rounds for California, Luna asserted that the pistol that Tran used was probably illegal in the state.
According to CNN, local police in Hemet, California, which is 80 miles east of Monterey Park, have a warrant to search Tran’s home. Both Hemet Police dispatch and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on the report.
According to online records, Huu Can Tran owned a business called Tran’s Trucking Inc. with a post office box in Monterey Park and a current trucking license. He had resided in the Los Angeles region since at least the 1990s, and according to address records, he moved into a mobile home in a senior living community in Hemet in 2020.
According to CNN, Tran frequently frequented dance studios, including the one he attacked on Saturday night. He had a short fuse, a friend who shall remain nameless told CNN.
The shooting happened during a two-day celebration of the Chinese New Year in Monterey Park, which draws a large crowd from all over Southern California.
A Lunar New Year dance was being held at The Star Ballroom Dance Studio at the time of the shooting, which one of the studio’s teachers described to Reuters as a beloved neighborhood hub for middle-aged and older adults looking for exercise and social interaction.
Some residents of the close-knit community of Monterey Park initially believed the shooting to be a hate crime against Asians as word of it spread. Immigration from China has long been a draw for the 60,000-person city. Asians make up about 65% of its population, according to the US Census.
According to Tiffany Chiu, 30, who was celebrating at her parents’ house close to the ballroom, some people mistook the gunshots for New Year’s fireworks.
It’s usually really quiet here because a lot of elderly people live here, she said. You wouldn’t expect this to be happening here,