The hunt for a gunman who killed 10 people at a ballroom dance club during Lunar New Year celebrations ended Sunday when authorities found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the van in which he fled after a second shooting was thwarted.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the man as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran and said no other suspects were at large. Speaking at an evening news conference, Luna said the motive for the attack remained unclear. Ten people were also wounded, seven of whom were still in the hospital.
Luna did not have the exact ages of the victims but said they all appeared to be over 50.
The sheriff added that the suspect was carrying what he described as a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine, and a second handgun was discovered in the van where Tran was found dead.
‘Could have been much worse’:Monterey Park gunman disarmed by ‘heroes’ at second dance studio, sheriff says
What happened in Monterey Park shooting
The shooting took place Saturday night at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, a predominantly Asian American community.
Officers arrived within three minutes of receiving the call, Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said. Officers found carnage inside the club and people trying to flee through all the doors.
“When they came into the parking lot, it was chaos,” Wiese said.
About 20 to 30 minutes after the shooting at Star Ballroom, an Asian man with a gun entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra, Luna said.
Patrons at Lai Lai wrestled a gun from the attacker, Luna said, adding later that the firearm was a “magazine-fed semi-automatic assault pistol.’’ Another handgun was discovered in the van, he said.
Luna said authorities began looking for a white van after witnesses reported seeing the suspect flee from Alhambra in such a vehicle.
In addition to the 10 victims who were fatally shot, 10 people were hospitalized as a result of the assault at the Monterey Park venue, some of them in critical condition.
Seven were still in the hospital Sunday night, Luna said.
Monterey Park shooting suspect
Authorities had released few details about Huu Can Tran late Sunday evening.
Luna said 72-year-old shooter’s white van was spotted in Torrance, California, about 22 miles from the site of Saturday night’s attack at a Monterey Park dance studio.
When the officers got off their patrol car around 10:20 a.m. Sunday, they heard a gunshot from the van and called for help, Luna said.
“At 12:52 p.m., our sheriff’s SWAT team approached and cleared the van and determined the suspect sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene,” Luna said. “Investigators conducted a search of the vehicle and determined the male inside the van was the mass shooting suspect.’’
‘Brave’ individuals disarmed gunman who entered Lai Lai Ballroom & Dance
Witnesses at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Dance in Alhambra, about two miles away from the Monterey Park dance studio, reported seeing the shooter flee to a white van, according to authorities.
Tran was likely intending to shoot more people when he entered Lai Lai , according to Luna. Police discovered a “magazine-fed semiautomatic assault pistol” with an attached large-capacity magazine at the Alhambra studio, Luna said.
The Alhambra ballroom was closed on Sunday but planned to reopen for lessons Monday, according to a Facebook post.
The city of Alhambra praised the bravery of those at the ballroom who disarmed the gunman and prevented further carnage.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to the victims. We thank the individuals who stepped up to help and prevent further injury,” the city wrote in a news release. “We also acknowledge those who stepped in here in Alhambra to disarm an individual threatening our own community.”
Heroes at Lai Lai Ballroom:‘Could have been much worse’: Monterey Park gunman disarmed at second dance studio
Monterey Park shooting marks fifth mass killing in the US in 2023
The tragedy marked the fifth mass killing in the U.S. since the start of the year. It is also the deadliest since May 24, when 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA TODAY database on mass killings in the U.S.
The database also shows that 2022 was also one of the worst years ever in terms of mass killings: 42 such attacks – the second-highest number since the creation of the tracker in 2006. The database defines a mass killing as four people killed not including the perpetrator.
The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.
Mass killings in the US:Revealing trends, details and anguish of every event in the United States since 2006
Contributing from USA TODAY: Jorge L. Ortiz, Tami Abdollah, John Bacon, Jordan Mendoza, Orlando Mayorquin, Marc Ramirez, Cady Stanton
Includes information from The Associated Press