US authorities found the suspect in the Monterey Park shooting in southern California on Sundayduring the Lunar New Year celebration that left 10 dead.
According to police, the suspect died “from a self-inflicted gunshot wound” after fleeing the nightclub where he opened fire on those present.
This is what is known about the alleged perpetrator of the attack and the hypotheses about the fact.
The moments of the attack
According to authorities, a man described by police as Asian, opened fire at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park during the Chinese New Year celebration.
Monterey Park is a city located 13 kilometers from the city of Los Angeles and in which, according to official data, more than 65% of its approximately 60,000 inhabitants are of Asian origin.
The festivity of the also known as Lunar Year was one of the most important moments for a community made up mainly of Chinese population, but also Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean or Malaysian, among other nationalities.
Hundreds of food and craft stalls, stages for musical performances, children’s attractions, and makeshift street beauty salons had spread out along Lincoln Boulevard, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, to its junction with Garvey Avenue.
Several thousand people gathered there on Saturday night for the celebration of this important holiday.
(Also read: Author of shooting in California that leaves 10 dead is of Asian origin)
Los Angeles police responded to emergency calls shortly after 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 21. and found people leaving the discotheque facilities.
“I had just returned home and heard several shots. Now I know they were shots, but then I thought they were just fireworks,” David Kwan, a 52-year-old Malaysian resident who has lived in the area for four decades, told Efe. .
Witnesses said the suspect fired indiscriminately. Wong Wei, who lives in Monterey Park, told the Los Angeles Times that a friend of hers had gone to the club and was in the bathroom when the shooting started.
According to what an owner of a nearby seafood restaurant told the newspaper, three people ran into his restaurant and asked him to lock the door, as there was a man with a semi-automatic weapon and several rounds of ammunition.
The suspected gunman then went to another dance venue a short distance away, but was accosted and disarmed before fleeing.
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“Unfortunately” paramedics “declared 10 victims dead at the scene,” said Robert Luna, sheriff of Los Angeles County, where the town known as “New Chinatown” is located, adding that another 10 people were injured.
The deceased are five women and five men, authorities said without giving names or ages.
“People may think that this is another case, but not here. This is one of the calmest and safest areas of the county and we are devastated,” Jun Xiaozhe, a man who lives two blocks from the place, assured Efe this Sunday. of the facts.
What is known about the perpetrator of the shooting?
After the suspect fled the scene late Sunday morning the police had a white van surrounded in Torrance, south of Los Angeles and just over 25 miles from Monterey Park.
Aerial images showed the van cornered by armored vehicles, while a large number of patrol cars were nearby, within a wide police cordon.
The siege culminated in heavily armed uniformed men boarding the van after breaking the passenger-side window with their weapons raised. Photos taken by AFP at the scene show the lifeless body of a man in the driver’s seat.
Sheriff Robert Luna said a van with a wanted notice was tracked down and as deputies approached, they heard a shot inside the vehicle.
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The suspect suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene.” He was identified by police as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran.
“I can confirm that there are no outstanding suspects,” added Luna, who said the motive for the attack was still unknown.
“The investigation is still ongoing. Homicide detectives…are working around the clock to gather additional information and determine the motive behind this extremely tragic incident,” he said.
According to CNN, Huu Can Tran was a regular customer of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.where the events occurred. His ex-wife told the aforementioned medium that the man used to give dance lessons sporadically in that place.
The woman assured that Tran was never violent with her, but indicated that he could change his mood easily, as happened when someone made a wrong dance step.
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Another friend of Tran’s told CNN that the man used to complain about being mistreated at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. “Tran often complained that the ballroom instructors didn’t like him and said ‘bad things about him,'” she told the outlet.
However, there are still more unknown details of the suspect than those that have come to light. Local authorities claimed that the 72-year-old man’s criminal history and mental health are still under investigation.
Los Angeles County already has a search warrant to access the home of Tran, who lived – according to CNN – in a nursing home in Hemet, California.
The reasons for the shooting
“We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime as defined by law,” Luna said, “but who walks into a dance hall and shoots 20 people?”
Police and experts were still working at the scene of the massacre, an AFP photographer said. Nearby and on a row of red lanterns, a banner wished the inhabitants a “Happy Year of the Rabbit”.
Tens of thousands of people had gathered for the two-day Lunar New Year festival, one of the largest in the area. Events scheduled for Sunday were canceled after the attack.
“My heart is broken for the victims, their families and the people of my hometown,” Rep. Judy Chu, a former Monterey Park mayor, said on Twitter.
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We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime as defined by law
Chu had been on the scene, joining the festivities hours before the shooting, when the crowd was still large. “This could have been so much worse,” he said.
President Joe Biden ordered flags on public buildings across the country to fly at half-mast until Jan. 26 “a sign of respect for the victims” of the shooting, a White House statement said.
The Monterey Park shooting was the deadliest since the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 21 dead in an elementary school on May 24, 2022.
According to the Gun Violence Archive website, there were 647 mass killings in the United States last year, defined as incidents involving four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter.
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