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72-year-old suspect in Lunar New Year fest mass shooting found dead

California Shooting
APTOPIX California Shooting
California Shooting
Posted at 10:33 AM, Jan 22, 2023

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — The man who authorities believe carried out a mass shooting that left 10 people dead and 10 others wounded in Southern California was found dead on Sunday.

Law enforcement officials swarmed and entered a white van Sunday afternoon and found 72-year-old Huu Can Tran dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna.

Authorities say the gunman killed 10 people at a ballroom dance studio late Saturday amid Lunar New Years celebrations in the predominantly Asian American community of Monterey Park. He likely tried and failed to target a second dance hall, authorities said.

The van was found in Torrance, another community home to many Asian Americans, about 22 miles (34.5 kilometers) from that second location.

Luna said the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park left five women and five men dead. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes later, the suspect reportedly entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra.

Luna said people wrestled the weapon away from the gunman before he fled.

Hours earlier, Luna said authorities were looking for a white van after witnesses reported seeing the suspect flee from Alhambra in such a vehicle.

Members of a SWAT team entered the van a short time later and looked through its contents before walking away. Luna said they recovered a gun inside the van and at one of the scenes.

A motive for the shooting is still under investigation.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people on the eastern edge of Los Angeles and is composed mostly of Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans. The shooting happened in the heart of its downtown where red lanterns decorated the streets for the Lunar New Year festivities. A police car was parked near a large banner that proclaimed “Happy Year of the Rabbit!”

President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were briefed on the situation, aides said. Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden were thinking of those killed and wounded, and he directed federal authorities to support the investigation.