Shooter in Monterey Park Identified, Motive Still Unknown

We've been reporting on Saturday's devastating Monterey Park, California, shooting and the immediate aftermath. On Sunday afternoon it was reported that the suspected shooter was barricaded in an unmarked white van and engaged in an encounter with police officers in Torrance, California. The standoff ended with the suspect dying from a self-inflicted injury. 

In the hours prior to the standoff, the Sheriff's Department released photos of the suspect and confirmed a possible link between Monterey Park shooting and the Alhambra incident shortly afterwards.

In the second incident, at the Lai Lai Ballroom, the suspect was disarmed by a patron before anyone was injured:

The shooting in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio happened at around 10:22 p.m. when the city's vast Asian American community was celebrating Lunar New Year weekend. Around seventeen to twenty minutes after, the suspect showed up to a second dance studio in the nearby Alhambra in which authorities claim that a bystander took a gun from him, a gun police ultimately used to identify the suspect as per an official from the law enforcement department who was aware of the incident. The semi-automatic gun was traced to the suspect, who identified him and his description, the official added.

Officials have identified the suspect as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, an immigrant from China who was an alumnus at the dance studio where the shooting took place.

Per CNN:

“Tran was once a frequent patron of Star Ballroom Dance Studio, his ex-wife and an old acquaintance both confirmed to CNN.”

“Tran's ex-wife, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the matter, said she was introduced to Tran around two years back during a dance at Star Ballroom, a popular social gathering spot where he offered informal classes. Tran attended the dance she attended, introduced himself and gave her lessons for free, according to her. The couple got married soon after, she explained.”

Although Tran was not violent towards her, she claimed he was quick to get angry. For instance, she stated that if she didn't take an opportunity to dance, hhe would be upset since he thought it looked bad to him. Tran and she divorced in the latter part of 2005. The judge approved the divorce in the year following, Los Angeles court records indicate.

Another longtime friend of Tran's was also a fan of his frequent visits to the studio. The person, who did not want to be named, had a close relationship with Tran during the latter part of 2000 and the early 2010s and he told him that Tran was able to make the five-minute drive from his house located in San Gabriel to Star Ballroom Dance Studio “almost every night.”

Tran frequently complained that the dance instructors at the dance hall didn't like him. They were known to say “evil things about him,” the friend said in addition to the fact that Tran had been “hostile to a lot of people there.”

The motive behind the shooting is not clear, police have been granted a warrant for a search for his residence at Hemet, California.

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