Death toll in California shooting rises to 11 as police seek motive
Media equipment is set up outside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, where 11 people were killed and at least 10 others wounded in a shooting rampage on Saturday night.
By TIM ARANGO, VICTORIA KIM, EDGAR SANDOVAL and SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA
Another victim of the mass shooting at a popular Southern California ballroom died at a hospital Monday, bringing the death toll to 11, as investigators continued to seek the gunman’s motive. The massacre during a celebration of the Lunar New Year in a thriving Chinese American suburb was followed by a thwarted attack at another nearby dance hall and a daylong search across the Los Angeles region Sunday. It ended with the suspected gunman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot.
Here are the details:
— Officials publicly identified two of the 10 people who were found dead at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, and said they were waiting until relatives were notified to identify the others. Five of the dead were women, including My Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63, along with two other women in their 60s and one in her 50s. Of the five men killed, three were in their 70s and two in their 60s.
— Investigators offered no motive for the rampage publicly, but as they continued to interview witnesses Monday, a law enforcement official briefed on the matter said that they believe the gunman, identified by police as Huu Can Tran, 72, specifically targeted some of the people who were killed, and that others were shot randomly. Tran had recently visited the police station in Hemet, a town in Riverside County where he was living in a mobile park, to say that his family was poisoning him, the official said.
— The gunman tried to carry out a second attack at a ballroom in neighboring Alhambra late Saturday, officials said, but was disarmed by people there whom the sheriff called “heroes,” preventing another tragedy. Brandon Tsay, 26, who works at the ballroom, said he wrestled a semi-automatic assault pistol out of the suspect’s hands.
— The search ended Sunday when a SWAT team closed in on a white van in a parking lot in Torrance, about 30 miles from Monterey Park. Officers heard one shot as they approached the van, Sheriff Robert Luna of Los Angeles County said; they discovered that the suspected gunman had shot himself.
— Relatives and survivors began sharing stories of the victims Monday, describing moments of joy and revelry as dozens of couples ran through their favorite dance moves at the studio. The sheriff said late Sunday that seven of the wounded remained hospitalized.