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Authorities Say Gunman, 72, Who Killed 10 And Wounded 10 In Monterey Park Took His Own Life. What We Know So Far

Police tape and barricades block a parking lot in strip mall at night. The name of the dance studio, Star Dance, is partially visible as people who appear to be in uniform stand near a vehicle with an open back hatch.
Law enforcement at the scene of a mass shooting that took place on Jan. 21, 2023 in Monterey Park, California. Ten people were killed and at least 10 wounded.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)
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Authorities say the suspect wanted in connection with killing 10 people and injuring at least 10 others in a mass shooting in Monterey Park Saturday night was found dead of a self-inflicted gun wound in Torrance on Sunday morning.

The shooter was identified as Huu Can Tran, 72. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Tran saw Torrance police following him at about 10:20 a.m. Sunday, pulled into a parking lot and shot himself as the officers were walking up to his van.

At 12:52 p.m., Tran was pronounced dead at the scene, Luna said.

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Authorities say they're still looking into the motivation for the shooting.

"Although that closes a portion of a very long day for all of us, the investigation is still ongoing, Luna said. "Sheriff's homicide detectives are working around the clock gathering additional information and working on determining the motive behind this extremely tragic event."

He added that no additional suspects were being sought.

Authorities are also investigating a second incident at a nearby dance studio in Alhambra where a gun was wrestled away from a man, who then left. That incident took place a short time after the fatal attack in Monterey Park.

Luna — who praised the "brave community members" who "jumped into action — described the weapon recovered at Alhambra as a semi-automatic assault pistol with an extended large capacity magazine attached to it. A handgun was also recovered from the van in Torrance.

Police have not yet released the names of the victims.

About this story's language
  • You might notice this story includes the suspected shooter's race. Under our newsroom's style guide, Dialogue, we typically do not share this because police descriptions can often apply to thousands of people and dangerously encourage discrimination. We are including it here in the context of questions about whether this shooting is potentially a hate crime — defined as acting with prejudice on the basis of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or similar grounds. A shooting last year in Laguna Woods — where the shooter and victims shared the same race — was motivated by historic Chinese-Taiwanese tensions.

  • To see a full explanation of our language choices, check out Dialogue, LAist’s style guide, and give us feedback.

Standoff In Torrance

By late Sunday morning, SWAT vehicles had boxed in a white van in a parking lot near the intersection of Sepulveda and Hawthorne Boulevards. Earlier this morning, officials said a "vehicle of interest" was a white cargo van.

At the time, Luna called the situation "a tactical incident" and said that the department suspected someone was barricaded inside. That standoff, which was covered live by TV stations, appeared to end about 1:30 p.m.

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A law enforcement officer in tactical gear stands guard by a white van parker between two armored vehicles
Police were involved in a stand-off Sunday in Torrance that ended by 1:30 p.m.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)

At that point Luna would not say whether the person in the van was the shooting suspect.

He encouraged people to come forward with any information about the alleged shooter. Police earlier released a grainy image of the suspect.

Watch The Latest Press Conference

Press conferences have happened throughout the day. The latest was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Watch it here:

What We Know

Police tape and barricades block a parking lot in strip mall at night. The name of the dance studio, Star Dance is partially visible as people who appear to be in unifrome stand near a vehicle with an open back hatch.
Law enforcement at the scene of a mass shooting on Jan. 22, 2023 in Monterey Park, California. Ten people were killed and at least 10 wounded.
(Eric Thayer
Getty Images)

This all happened in a reportedly crowded ballroom dance studio on Garvey Avenue just west of Garfield Boulevard.

The Monterey Park Police Department got a call of shots fired and officers were at the scene in the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue at Star Dance about 10:22 p.m.

There, authorities said, officers found "numerous victims and patrons in the parking lot of the business. Additional officers made entry into the business and located numerous gunshot victims."

Monterey Park, in the San Gabriel Valley, is 65% Asian and home to many immigrants from China.

A large Lunar New Year festival had concluded down the street about an hour before the shooting. The motive and information about the victims is still unknown. In a noon press conference, Luna told reporters that the name of the suspect was being withheld while the situation developed.

Authorities said a separate incident took place at a dance studio in nearby Alhambra, 17 to 20 minutes after the Monterey Park shooting. In that case a man walked in with a firearm and it was wrestled away. That person then left the scene.

What We Know About The Victims And Location

  • 10 people were pronounced dead inside the location. Five are female and five are male.
  • At least 10 additional victims were taken to hospitals. Sheriff's officials said their conditions ranged "from stable to critical."
  • The Star Dance studio has been in business more than 30 years, according to its website. People in the area say it's a popular spot for older Chinese people and anyone can come in to learn to dance.

Victim's Resource Center

A resource center has been opened at the Langley Senior Citizen Center in Monterey Park for survivors and family and friends of victims, though authorities have not yet identified the victims. Food, shelter, counseling, translation, and immigration services are being offered.

  • Address: 400 W Emerson Avenue, Monterey Park, CA 91754
If you need help

About The Investigation

Three people in dark suits walk down the street next to buildings behind the yellow do not cross tape during the day.
FBI agents walk down the scene in Monterey Park on January 22, 2023.
(Josie Huang
LAist )

Monterey Park Police were the first to respond. As is common for smaller city police departments, LASD Homicide investigators took the lead. Sheriff's officials said they're working closely with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the Los Angeles FBI officials and numerous other law enforcement agencies.

In addition, President Biden was briefed:

About The Lunar New Year Celebration

Blockades and a Do Not enter sign block a road where tents sit empty. A decorative size stretches across the road with red lanterns hanging from it.
The scene Sunday morning on what should have been a busy stretch of road celebration Lunar New Year in Monterey Park.
(Phoenix Tso

The celebration in Monterey Park is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California — with estimated crowds of more than 100,000 a day in previous years. Events planned for Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. have now been canceled.

While Luna said early Sunday that he's increasing law enforcement presence throughout Monterey Park and at other Lunar New Year events, there was no call to halt other celebrations.

"And that's not to indicate that we think there's a threat there," he said. "We're just taking every precaution we can. We don't want anybody else to get hurt."

Why One Alhambra Restaurant Opened Sunday Night

Lunar New Year is a high volume day in Asian American communities — but in the wake of the shootings, revenue was not the priority.

At Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra, a restaurant about 10 minutes away from the shooting, owner Christian Yang decided to cancel brunch out of concern for his employees.

“Most people were unnerved and a little bit scared," he said. "Our front of house staff, which works directly in the front, were apprehensive and worried.”

A light skinned Asian man stands in a black T shirt, his arms crossed, in front of a dining room in a restaurant
Christian Yang, owner of Yang's Kitchen in Alhambra
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

He was expecting a big turnout. “Together with the loss of revenue and still paying staff, it's going to be a huge blow for us,” Yang said.

Later, after the shooter was found, Yang decided to open for dinner. “I feel like it's out of respect for the victims, like showing some resiliency while still paying respects to them.”

The shooting marks yet another obstacle that restaurants must face in the wake of COVID and rising food prices due to inflation.

“I hope diners can understand this kind of stuff," he said. "Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of nasty diners, like a little bit of entitlement, and it’s taking a toll on a lot of people, I just hope that people become a little bit more empathetic or sympathetic. Maybe not just for restaurants, but towards each other in general.”

The National Context

NPR reports.

The shooting in Monterey Park comes amid an already violent year for the U.S.

The country has seen at least 33 mass shootings in 2023 alone, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive.

The archive defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are injured or killed, other than the shooter.

An estimated 2,539 people have been killed by gun violence so far this year, including 1,452 suicides.

“We don’t have to live this way,” Brady, a group working to combat gun violence, tweeted in response to the shooting. “We need #GunReformNow.”

What Else You Should Know

We will be back tomorrow morning to bring you more information as it comes in. Listen to 89.3 KPCC FM for live coverage of any new press conferences.

Authorities are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. If you prefer to remain anonymous you can call crime stoppers at 800-222-8477.

How We're Reporting On This

Julia Paskin and Rebecca Gutierrez are making calls and monitoring official accounts. Josie Huang and Phoenix Tso are in Monterey Park. Jackie Orchard has reported from Alhambra. Michael Flores will report from Little Saigon's Tet Festival. Caitlin Hernández and Elly Yu are writing for LAist.

Your Questions

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