Mass shooter’s motive elusive as Monterey Park mourns 10 dead

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the reasons behind the Lunar New Year massacre carried out by Huu Can Tran on Saturday night remained elusive.

Officials worked Monday to try to identify the 10 people killed Saturday night at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, about 7 miles (11 kilometers) east of downtown Los Angeles. 10 other people were injured and seven remained hospitalized late Sunday.

Tran’s rampage could have been much worse. About 20 minutes after the shooting in Monterey Park, he entered another dance club in the neighboring city of Alhambra. There, two patrons wrestled a weapon away from the septwagenarian before he could get a shot. Tran then fled.

“I can tell you that the suspect went in there, probably with the intention of killing more people, and two brave members of the community decided they were going to jump into action and disarm him,” Luna told reporters at a Sunday briefing. in the evening

About 12 hours later, police officers in the city of Torrance, 20 miles southwest of Monterey Park, approached a white cargo van that Tran was driving. As the officers approached the van, they heard a single shot from inside when Tran killed himself.

Luna did not identify any of the victims but said that the five men and five women appeared to be 50, 60 years old and older. The sheriff said the gun Tran used was likely illegal in California, where state law prohibits any magazine with more than 10 rounds.

“We want to know, we want to know how something this scary can happen,” said Luna to the journalists.

The shooting occurred around the site of a two-day Chinese Lunar New Year celebration where many downtown streets are closed for festivities that draw thousands of people from across Southern California.

As news of the shooting spread, some in the tight-knit community of Monterey Park feared it was a hate crime targeting Asians. The city has been a destination for immigrants from China for decades. About 65% of its residents are Asian, according to US Census data.

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.

“People were calling me last night, they were afraid this was a hate crime,” Chong said at the scene.

The gunshots were mistaken by some for New Year’s fireworks, according to Tiffany Chiu, 30, who was celebrating at her parents’ home next door of the ball.

“A lot of old people live here, it’s usually really quiet,” she said. “This is not something you expect here.”

(Reporting by Tim Reid in Monterey Park; Additional reporting by Brad Brooks, Jonathan Allen, Dan Whitcomb and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Stephen Coates)

By Tim Reid

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