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What We Know About The Gunman In the Monterey Park Mass Shooting

A law enforcement officer in tactical gear stands guard by a white van parker between two armored vehicles
Authorities say the gunman of the Monterey Park mass shooting died of a self-inflicted gun wound after police surrounded his van in Torrance on Sunday.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)
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The gunman who killed 11 people and injured nine others at a dance hall in Monterey Park late Saturday was a frequent patron of the location and others, according to a former longtime friend.

Huu Can Tran, 72, was pronounced dead of a self-inflicted gunshot on Sunday in Torrance, after SWAT teams boxed in the white van he was driving, authorities said. Officials identified him as the man who fired into a crowded dance studio on the first night of Lunar New Year celebrations.

His Connection To Dance Studios

The former friend said Tran used to go to both Star Dance Studio, the site of the weekend’s mass shooting, as well as Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, where he walked in with a firearm a short time after the assault at Star Dance. At that location, he was disarmed before fleeing.

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“On a daily basis, he would go there to dance — either one of them,” said the former friend, who described knowing him in the mid-2000s to early 2010s while Tran lived in the city of San Gabriel. “That’s the only place he could go and that was the only thing he was interested in.”

Tran’s ex-wife also told CNNhe was a regular at Star Dance Studio, where they met about two decades ago and where he gave her free informal lessons. Court records show they were married in 2001, and Tran filed for divorce in 2005.

She told CNN that while he was not physically violent towards her, he had anger issues.

Where He Lived

A public records database search showed Tran moved to California from Houston in the late 1980s and settled in the San Gabriel Valley, where he lived in Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel and Arcadia. He owned property in San Gabriel from 1989 to 2013, and more recently bought a mobile or manufactured home in the Riverside County city of Hemet.

While living in San Gabriel, he started a trucking business in 2002 that appeared to have been unsuccessful. The business dissolved in 2004 without acquiring any assets or liabilities.

He had a business cleaning carpets at restaurants, said his former longtime friend, and would frequent the dance studios at night.

The former friend said Tran, who he described as distrustful, frequently complained about the people at the dance studios. “He was always suspicious of others speaking evil of him behind his back,” he said.

Limited Criminal History

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Tran had a limited criminal history but had been arrested in 1990 for unlawful possession of a firearm.

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“We still don't have a motive, but we want to know the motive behind this tragic event, and the FBI continues to collaborate with us in that portion of the investigation,” said Luna.

Tran, who was most recently living in a Hemet mobile home community, had visited the Hemet Police Department twice this month on Jan. 7 and 9, “alleging past fraud, theft, and poisoning allegations involving his family in the Los Angeles area 10 to 20 years ago,” said a spokesperson for the Hemet Police Department.

He told Hemet police he’d return with documentation about the allegations, but didn’t return.

Ted Rohrlich contributed to this report.

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How to help victims

  • GoFundMe has set up a dedicated fundraising page to support survivors and loved ones of the mass shooting. The list includes:

  • GoFundMe says these funds are verified, meaning their team is ensuring donations will be used as claimed. You can see the full list here.

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