What We Know About The Gunman In the Monterey Park Mass Shooting
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.
“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.
“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.
Resources for the AAPI community
- The Chinatown Service Center's behavioral health team is offering on call support at: 213-808-1700
- The Asian Mental Health Collective has a U.S. therapist directory with professionals who specialize in serving the AAPI community.
- AMHC also has a range of free mental health support groups.
- The AAPI Equity Alliance has put together a resource directory for those in need of trauma support
- NAMI California’s list of AAPI mental health resources
- The Asians For Mental Health Therapist Directory
- The California Victims Compensation Board reimburses mental health services for victims and their families.
- Changing Tides, part of the Little Tokyo Service Center, offers stipends for AAPI youth seeking therapy. (https://thechangingtides.org/)
Resources for anyone in crisis
- Steinberg Institute website, links to mental health resources and care throughout California
- Institute on Aging's 24/7 Friendship Line (especially for people who have disabilities or are over 60), 1-800-971-0016 or call 415-750-4138 to volunteer.
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, 24/7 Access Line 1-800-854-7771.
- The Crisis Text Line, Text "HOME" (741-741) to reach a trained crisis counselor.
- California Psychological Association Find a Psychologist Locator
- Psychology Today guide to therapist
If You Need Immediate Help
- Find 5 Action Steps for helping someone who may be suicidal, from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Six questions to ask to help assess the severity of someone's suicide risk, from the Columbia Lighthouse Project.
- To prevent a future crisis, here's how to help someone make a safety plan.
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.