California Lunar New Year mass shooter dead, motive unclear: police

Tape cordons off the scene of a deadly shooting on January 22, 2023 in Monterey Park, California. 10 people were killed and 10 more were injured at a dance studio in Monterey Park near a Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday night. Photo by Eric Thayer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The motive for a shooting that killed 10 people celebrating Lunar New Year in California remained unclear on Monday, the day after the alleged gunman shot himself dead as police moved to arrest him.

An intensive manhunt began late Saturday after a man opened fire inside a dance studio and club in Monterey Park, a city near Los Angeles with a large Asian community.

Witnesses said he had shot indiscriminately, and appeared to have a lot of ammunition.

Five men and five women were killed, most in their 50s or 60s, police said, with around 10 others who got injured.

The suspect, identified by police as a 72-year-old man named Huu Can Tran, then went to another dance venue that is a short distance away but he was tackled and disarmed by people at the club before fleeing.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said over the following hours, the police tracked a wanted van, which was later reported in Torrance, several miles (kilometers) south.

When officers approached, they heard one gunshot from within.

“The suspect sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene,” Luna said.

“I can confirm that there are no outstanding suspects from the mass shooting incident.”

Luna said the reason behind the horrific attack, which came as Asian communities around the world celebrated the Lunar New Year holiday, remained a mystery.

“The investigation is still ongoing. Sheriff’s homicide detectives are working around the clock gathering additional information and working on determining the motive behind this extremely tragic event,” he said.

Luna paid tribute to two people at the site of the second attempted attack.

“I can tell you that the suspect walked in there, probably with the intent to kill more people, and two brave community members decided they were going to jump into action and disarm him.”

“They took possession of the weapon, and the suspect ran away.”

The weapon used was not an assault rifle, Luna said, but “a magazine-fed semi-automatic assault pistol… that had an extended large capacity magazine attached to it.”

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