- Shooting during the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival
- Ballroom dancing venue popular with older visitors
- The shooter later kills himself when approached by police
MONTEREY PARK, Calif., Jan 22 (Reuters) – A 72-year-old gunman killed 10 people on Sunday as police approached him, about 12 hours after carrying out a Lunar New Year massacre at a dance club. and another 10 injured.
The gunman attempted another shooting at a separate club just minutes after the first on Saturday night, but authorities said two bystanders wrestled the man’s gun away from him before any shots could be fired. He ran away from that place.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the suspect as Huu Can Tran, a seven-year-old who he said used a high-capacity magazine pistol to open fire at a ballroom venue popular with older patrons in Monterey Park, about 7 miles (11 km) east. from the center. Los Angeles.
Investigators did not yet know a motive, although gun violence is common in the United States. Luna did not identify any of the victims, but said the five men and five women were in their 50s, 60s and older. The sheriff said the gun Tran used appears to be illegal in California, where state law prohibits any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.
“We want to know, we want to know how something so terrible could happen,” Luna told reporters.
After police said Tran opened fire in a Monterey park at about 10 p.m. PST (0600 GMT Sunday) on Saturday, he was confronted by passers-by at a second dance club in the neighboring city of Alhambra about 20 minutes later, Luna said.
“I can tell you that the suspect went in there, possibly with the intention of killing more people, and two brave members of the community decided they were going to step in and disarm him,” Luna said.
The sheriff said Tran turned the gun on himself Sunday as police approached the white van he was driving in Torrance, about 20 miles (34 km) from the scene 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 in the SWAT team.
Of the 10 injured, seven remained hospitalized Sunday night, and at least one person is in critical condition.
The shooting happened around the site of a two-day Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, where many downtown streets are closed for the festivities, which draw thousands of people from across Southern California.
In Monterey Park on Sunday, residents stood and stared at the many blocks sealed off with police tape. Chester Chong, chairman of the Los Angeles Chinese Chamber of Commerce, described the city of about 60,000 people as a quiet, peaceful, beautiful place where everyone knows each other and helps each other.
The city has been a destination for immigrants from China for decades. About 65% of its population is Asian, according to the US Census, and the city is known for its many Chinese restaurants and grocery stores.
“I had people calling me last night, they were afraid it was a hate crime,” Chong said at the scene.
Star Ballroom Dance Studio opened in 1990, and its website features many photos of past Lunar New Year celebrations, showing patrons smiling and dancing in party clothes in its large, brightly lit ballroom.
Most of its patrons are middle-aged or seniors, although children also attend youth dance classes, said a teacher at the studio who asked not to be named.
“These are normal working people,” said the teacher. “Some are retired and just looking for exercise or social interaction.”
A flyer posted on the site advertised Saturday night’s New Year’s Eve party, which runs from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Some mistook the shots for New Year’s fireworks, said Tiffany Chiu, 30, who was celebrating at her parents’ home near the ballroom.
“A lot of older people live here, it’s usually really quiet,” she said. “It’s not something you expect around here.”
President Joe Biden condemned the killings in a written statement and said he had directed his homeland security adviser to mobilize federal support for local authorities.
The attack in Monterey Park was the deadliest since May 2022, when a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at a school in Uvalde, Texas. The deadliest shooting in California history was in 1984, when a gunman killed 21 people at a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, near San Diego.
Reporting by Tim Reid in Monterey Park, Jonathan Allen in New York and Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Additional reporting by Lea Douglas, Kanishka Singh, Gabriella Borter, Dan Whitcomb, Timothy Gardner, Mary Milliken and Maria Vasiliev Writing by Brad Brooks, Rhys Kasolowski and Jonathan Allen Editing by Paul Thomas, Frances Carey, Matthew Lewis, Chris Reese, Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker
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