What we know about the Monterey Park massacre suspect | CNN


The 72-year-old man suspected of killing 10 people and wounding 10 others in a shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, on Saturday had previously frequented the establishment, sources told CNN.

The suspect, identified as Huu Can Tran, was pronounced dead after a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday when police surrounded a white pickup truck in Torrance, about 30 miles from Monterey Park, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said. .

The shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio occurred around 10:22 p.m., as the city’s large Asian-American community was celebrating Lunar New Year weekend. Between 17 and 20 minutes later, a gunman appeared at a second dance studio in nearby Alhambra, where authorities say a group of people seized a gun from him.

The mass shooting kicked off a region-wide manhunt, with a description of a white van seen leaving the Alhambra incident relayed to area law enforcement agencies. On Sunday morning, officers in Torrance saw a white pickup truck matching the description.

“As the officers got out of their patrol car to contact the occupant, they heard a gunshot coming from inside the van,” Luna said. “Officers withdrew and requested that various tactical teams respond.” Then, when three armored vehicles blocked the truck, the SWAT team went up and found Tran dead inside, Luna said.

With it still unclear what prompted the shooting and a search warrant has been issued for Tran’s home, the sheriff said it’s too early to say if it could have been a hate crime and investigators are still working to determine if any of the victims was known to the gunman

This is what we know about the suspect.

Tran had been a regular at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, his ex-wife and a long-time acquaintance told CNN.

Tran’s ex-wife, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the case, said she met Tran about two decades ago at the Star Ballroom, a popular community hangout where he gave informal lessons. Tran saw her at a dance, introduced himself and offered her free lessons, she said. The two married soon after, she said.

While Tran was never violent towards her, he said he could get angry quickly. For example, he said, if she missed a dance step, he would be upset because he felt she was making him look bad. Tran filed for divorce in late 2005 and a judge approved the divorce the following year, Los Angeles court records show.

Tran was an immigrant from China, according to a copy of his marriage license his ex-wife showed CNN.

It was unclear how often, if at all, Tran visited the ballroom in recent years.

Another longtime acquaintance of Tran’s also remembers him as a frequent presence in the dance studio. The friend, who also asked not to be named, was around Tran in the late 2000s and early 2010s when he said Tran would make the roughly five-minute drive from his San Gabriel home to Star Ballroom Dance Studio. “almost every night”. .”

Tran often complained at the time that the ballroom instructors didn’t like him and said “bad things about him,” the friend recalled, adding that Tran was “hostile to a lot of people there.”

The friend said he hadn’t seen Tran in several years and was “totally shocked” when he found out about the shooting.

“I know a lot of people, and if they go to the Star studio, they hang out there,” he said, adding that he was “concerned that I might meet some” of the shooting victims.

Law enforcement personnel open the door of a van in Torrance on Sunday.

Luna told reporters Sunday that investigators are still digging into Tran’s mental health and criminal history and following up on search warrants.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department obtained a search warrant for Tran’s home in a nursing home in Hemet, California, according to Hemet police public information officer Alan Reyes.

Records show Tran purchased a mobile home in the community, which is in a suburb about 85 miles east of Los Angeles in neighboring Riverside County.

Seven years before he bought the Hemet home, Tran sold a San Gabriel home in 2013 that he had owned for more than two decades, property records show.

Business records also show that Tran registered a business called Tran’s Trucking Inc. in California in 2002. But he dissolved the business about two years later, writing in a corporate filing that the company had never acquired any known assets or incurred any known debts or liabilities. .

Tran had sometimes worked as a truck driver, according to his ex-wife.

A crowd of onlookers watches as a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department helicopter takes off from Torrance.

Authorities are still working to determine how the weapon allegedly used in the shooting was obtained.

The weapon recovered from the Alhambra location was a magazine-fed, semi-automatic assault pistol that had a high-capacity extended magazine attached, the sheriff said Sunday.

A law enforcement officer with knowledge of the case told CNN it was a 9mm Cobray M11 semi-automatic, which is designed to load 30-round magazines that allow rapid firing without having to change magazines frequently.

In response to a reporter’s question, Luna said: “I think the gun that was recovered at the Alhambra location is not legal to have here in the State of California.”

The weapon was traced back to the suspect, who gave authorities his name and description, according to the law enforcement official.

A handgun was also discovered in the van with the suspect, the sheriff said.

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