California shooting suspect kills himself after Lunar New Year massacre

By Reuters   January 23, 2023 | 01:38 am PT
California shooting suspect kills himself after Lunar New Year massacre
Flowers are left near the scene of a shooting that took place during a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, in Monterey Park, California, U.S. January 22, 2023. Photo by Reuters/Allison Dinner
A 72-year-old gunman killed himself when approached by police on Sunday, about 12 hours after he had carried out a Lunar New Year massacre at a dance club that left 10 people dead and another 10 wounded.

The gunman tried to carry out another shooting at a separate club just minutes after the first one on Saturday night, but authorities said two bystanders wrestled the man's weapon away from him before any shots could be fired. He fled that scene.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the suspect as Huu Can Tran, a septuagenarian he said used a high-capacity magazine pistol to shoot up a ballroom dance venue popular with older patrons in Monterey Park, about 7 miles (11 km) east of downtown Los Angeles.

Investigators did not yet know a motive, although gun violence is frequent in the United States. Luna did not identify any of the victims but said the five men and five women appeared to be in their 50s, 60s and beyond. The sheriff said the pistol Tran used appeared to be illegal in California, where state laws ban any magazine holding more than 10 rounds.

"We want to know, we want to know how something this awful can happen," Luna told reporters.

After police say Tran carried out the shooting in Monterey Park at about 10 p.m. PST Saturday (0600 GMT on Sunday), he was confronted by bystanders at a second dance club in the neighboring city of Alhambra about 20 minutes later, Luna said.

"I can tell you that the suspect walked in there, probably with the intent to kill more people, and two brave community members decided they were going to jump into action and disarm him," Luna said.

The sheriff said that Tran turned a handgun on himself on Sunday as police approached a white van he was driving in Torrance, about 20 miles (34 km) from the site of the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park. Officers heard a single gunshot from the van as they approached, then fell back and called for a SWAT team.

Of the 10 people injured, seven remained hospitalized Sunday night, with at least one person in critical condition.

The shooting took place around the location of a two-day Chinese Lunar New Year celebration where many downtown streets are closed for festivities that draw thousands of people from across Southern California.

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