Monterey Park, California shooting: 11 victims ranged in age from 57 to 76 years old, coroner says



CNN

All 11 victims of a mass shooting at a dance studio on Chinese New Year in Monterey Park, California, were between the ages of 57 and 76, the LA County Coroner’s Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement.

The victims, five men and six women, were all publicly identified Tuesday by the coroner’s office. The female victim was named as Xiujuan Yu, 57; Hongying Jian, 62; Lilian Li, 63; Mymy Nhan, 65; Muoi Dai Ung, 67; and Diana Man Ling Tom, 70. The male victim was identified as Wen-Tau Yu, 64; Valentino Marcos Alvero, 68; Ming Wei Ma, 72; Yu-Lun Kao, 72; and Chia Ling Yau, 76.

While investigators​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​are try to determine a motive, the community faces a long road to recovery, the city´s mayor said.

“People are just in disbelief and shock, and it’s a very hard feeling,” Mayor Henry Lo told CNN on Monday night.

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Saturday night’s shooting came as the city’s majority Asian community was marking the Chinese New Year, turning one of the most auspicious days on the calendar into tragedy.

“There’s a lot of fear and anxiety out there. People are afraid of a situation like this where our joyous Chinese New Year celebration is turned into tragedy and fear,” Rep. Judy Chu, who represents Monterey Park, said Monday at a candlelight vigil for the victims. .

California Governor Gavin Newsom met with the shooting victim Monday when he was pulled away to be briefed on another fatal mass shooting in Half Moon Bay – the state’s second mass shooting in three days. “Tragedy upon tragedy,” Newsom said in a tweet.

Authorities revealed new details Monday from their search of the home of Monterey Park shooting suspect, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, in Hemet, about 80 miles east of Monterey Park.

Detectives executed a search warrant and found “hundreds of rounds” of ammunition, a .308-caliber rifle, various electronic devices and evidence leading officials to believe he was “manufacturing homemade firearm suppressors,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

However, as investigators investigate the large cache of ammunition they found, it remains unclear what motivated the attack Saturday night at Star Ballroom Dance Studio and later at Lai Lai Ballroom.

“Did he plan this? Was it the day? Was it the week before?” Luna said in a Monday press conference. “We don’t know. But we intend to find out.

Three people who knew Tran, including his ex-wife, told CNN that he had been a familiar face at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where he gave informal dance lessons. But it’s unclear how often he visited in recent years, if at all, and authorities are still investigating whether he knew any of the victims.

“There are definitely targeted appearances,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón told CNN. “Obviously, he knows where he’s going, and he’s familiar with both locations.”

Mayor Lo said Tuesday he hopes the dance hall can be a safe place for the public.

“It’s a place for people to socialize, learn how to dance,” he said. “We want to make sure that these dance halls continue to thrive and that people feel safe that they can socialize.”

The shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio happened around 10:22 pm Saturday. The gunman fired 42 rounds of ammunition from a semi-automatic handgun in the dance hall before leaving the scene, according to Sheriff Luna.

At least one person was shot in a vehicle outside the dance studio, and police believe Tran shot the person first before he entered the dance studio and opened fire on the crowd of civilians, the sheriff said.

Monterey Park officers were at the studio within three to four minutes, arriving at the scene of a “murderous massacre” as injured people and others poured out of the scene, Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said.

About 20 minutes after the shooting, the suspect — still armed — showed up at a second dance studio in nearby Alhambra. There, a 26-year-old civilian charged him and wrestled the gun away from him, saving another life, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday.

“I just had this thought and adrenaline. I can come to the conclusion that I need to do something, I need to grab the gun. I need to save myself and the people inside,” said Tsay.

The suspect fled and Tsay called police to the site, where investigators ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ This weapon is described as a 9 mm semi-automatic MAC-10 pistol with a large capacity magazine, according to Luna, who added the assault weapon seems to have been modified.

California has banned the use of large capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Less than a day later, Tran was found dead inside a white van about 30 miles away in Torrance as a SWAT team swarmed the vehicle. The sheriff said he died after a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigators also found a Norinco 7.62 x 25 handgun registered to the suspect inside the van, Luna said.

Ballistics and forensics comparisons must be made on all items recovered from the suspected shooter’s home, as authorities also look into Tran’s history.

So far, the sheriff has said the suspect has a “limited criminal history,” saying he was arrested in 1990 for illegal possession of a firearm.

People who met the suspect said he had a hot temper and a difficult temper.

Ilie Bardahan, a dancer at the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, said Tran had “very bad behavior,” adding “people say he’s a bit psycho in a sense.”

“A very sharp movement, pushing a little, not satisfied with sure, I don’t know, any improvement of the students,” said Bardahan.

Adam Hood said he rented an apartment from Tran and knew her for 20 years, but they fell out and hadn’t seen each other in about 8 or 9 years. He said Tran goes by the name “Andy.”

“His personality can be summed up in two words: mistrust – he doesn’t trust anyone – and hatred. He can hate people to death. He pushes it to extremes,” said Hood. “(He hates) anyone he thinks is not good for him. There were other dance instructors she didn’t like at both (dance studios).

Hood added Tran thought “the instructors weren’t nice to him, maybe they said bad things about him. It’s baseless. He always disliked the people in the studio, always complaining about the studio boss and other instructors, not about the students. It’s all there in his mind.”

A person prays the rosary at a makeshift memorial outside the scene of a deadly mass shooting at a ballroom dance studio on January 23, 2023 in Monterey Park, California.

Representative Judy Chu said the gunman who killed 11 on Saturday night “took them away from their families on what was supposed to be a joyous night, the Chinese New Year.”

Two Taiwanese Americans were also among the victims, according to Taiwan’s de facto diplomatic representative in Los Angeles, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.

At least one of the dead was a Chinese citizen, and one of the victims, Alvero, was a US citizen of Filipino descent, according to the countries’ consulate in Los Angeles.

Alvero’s son told CNN his father had hoped to retire in about a year to return to the Philippines, and said his father spends his free time in the dance studio.

“He would dance around the house,” Val Anthony Alvero said of his father. “He likes that kind of stuff.”

Nhan, known as “Mymy,” loved to dance and spent many years at the dance studio where she was killed, according to a statement from her family.

Nhan’s dance instructor, Maksym Kapitanchuk, told CNN that she was impressed.

“He would always be smiling,” Kapitanchuk said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a smile – even through the mask I could see his eyes smiling. He was the joy of any class, any party, any class.

At Monday’s vigil, leaders described the shock and loss felt in the Monterey Park community.

“This hits too close to home,” said Chun-Yen Chen, executive director of the Asia Pacific Community Fund.

On Saturday, community members celebrated the Lunar New Year in the hall with their grandmothers dancing. “Now some of them are no longer with us,” he said.

Many leaders praised the community for coming together in the wake of the tragedy.

“We will not let this murderer defeat us,” said former Assembly member Mike Eng at the vigil. “We will go forward with more enthusiasm and more love, because the only thing that defeats hate is love.”



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