Monterey Park, California massacre: Investigators find rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammo at mass shooter’s home


Investigators searched the home of the 72-year-old gunman who carried out a mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif., on Saturday night and found a .308-caliber rifle, hundreds of loose rounds and items that led them to believe he was there. building homemade firearm suppressors, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Monday.

Police found 42 shell casings and a high-capacity magazine at the dance studio where the shooting took place, Luna said. Investigators also found a gun in the white van registered to the attacker, he added.

The sheriff announced the details at a news conference less than two days after a gunman opened fire at a Lunar New Year party in a mostly Asian American city, killing 11 people and wounding nine others.


To find a motive, investigators delved into the background of the attacker, Huu Can Tran, an elderly Chinese immigrant described as having an interest in dancing and a hot temper. Luna said he had a limited criminal history, including an arrest in 1990. for illegal possession of a firearm.

“We don’t have a motive yet,” he said. “We want to know as much as you all do, and we’re working hard to make it happen.”

According to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, all of the victims — five men and six women — were over the age of 50, and three were over the age of 70.

Four of the victims were identified as My Nhan, a 65-year-old woman; Lilan Li, 63-year-old woman; Xiujuan Yu, 57-year-old woman; and Valentino Alvero, a 68-year-old man, the office said. The other victims were described as two women in their 60s, a woman in her 70s, a man in his 60s and three men in their 70s, the bureau said.

Nhan, known as “Mymy,” loved to dance and had spent many years at the dance studio where she was killed, her family said in a statement. Nhan was a “beloved aunt, sister, daughter and friend” and was the family’s “greatest protector,” the family said.

Tiffany Liou, a reporter for CNN affiliate WFAA in Dallas, told CNN and tweeted that Nhan was her husband’s aunt. “Mymy treated her nieces/nephews like her own children,” Liu wrote on Twitter. “Her kindness is what is needed in this world.”

The shooting began suddenly at the Star ballroom dance studio, where Tran allegedly opened fire on a crowd of civilians. He then went to another dance studio in the nearby Alhambra, but was beaten and disarmed by a civilian. He fled the scene and police found him a day later in a white van about 30 miles away in Torrance, dead from a gunshot wound.

He used a 9mm semi-automatic MAC-10 handgun with an extended high-capacity magazine in the attack, Luna said. The disarmed gun was traced to the suspect and his name and description were provided to authorities.

The bloody tornado turned one of the most auspicious days on the calendar for Asian Americans into a day of unfathomable tragedy, but it could still have been even more deadly.

The massacre, one of at least 36 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this month, specifically targeted members of the Asian community, which has suffered a spate of deadly attacks and harassment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. About 65% of Monterey Park’s population is of Asian descent, and about 100,000 people from all over Southern California typically come for the Lunar New Year celebrations.

“For the last few years, we’ve been ahead of the curve as Covid has come up and affected our communities, and we’ve also had anti-Asian hate in our communities,” Monterey Park City Councilman Thomas Wong told CNN. “And to deal with that — for our local community — it was just incredibly tragic.”

Mourners leave flowers near the site of the massacre during Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park.

Authorities are trying to piece together the pieces of Tran’s life to understand how he reached the point of mass violence.

In his white van in Torrance, investigators found a gun and “some evidence” linking him to the Monterey Park and Alhambra dance studios, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said.

The sheriff’s department also obtained a search warrant at Tran’s home in The Lakes at Hemet West, a senior community about 80 miles east of Monterey Park, a Hemet police spokesman confirmed.

Hemet police also said Tran visited their office two weeks ago and made serious misdemeanor allegations.

“Tran in 2023 January 7 and 9 visited the lobby of the Hemet Police Department, accusing his family of fraud, theft and poisoning that occurred in the Los Angeles area 10 to 20 years ago,” police said in a statement. “Tran stated that he would return to the station with documents related to his charges, but never did.

Tran was once a familiar face at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where he taught informal dance lessons, three people who knew him told CNN. However, it is unclear how often he has visited in recent years, if at all.

He even met his ex-wife there about two decades ago when he saw her at a dance, introduced himself and offered free lessons, the ex-wife said. The two married soon after meeting, she said. She asked that her name not be published due to the sensitivity of the case.

Tran sometimes worked as a truck driver, she said. He was a Chinese immigrant, according to a copy of his marriage license she showed CNN.

And Tran had a hot temper, his ex-wife and others said.

Although he was never violent towards her, the ex-wife said Tran would get upset if she missed a step while dancing because he thought it would make him look bad.

in 2005 he filed for divorce at the end of 2011, and a judge approved the divorce the following year, Los Angeles court records show.

Another longtime acquaintance of Tran’s also remembered him as a regular patron of the dance studio. The friend, who also asked not to be named, was close to Tran in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when he said Tran would come to the dance studio “almost every night” from his home in nearby San Gabriel.

At the time, Tran often complained that dance hall instructors didn’t like him and said “bad things about him,” a friend recalled. He said Tran was “hostile to a lot of people.”

In general, Tran was easily irritated, complained a lot and seemed to distrust people, the friend said.

A friend of Tran’s was “absolutely shocked” when he heard about the shooting, he said, noting that he hadn’t seen Tran in several years.

The massacre could have been more deadly if not for the efforts of at least one civilian.

Police first responded to the Monterey Park Dance Studio around 10:20 p.m. and found a chaotic and bloody scene, said city police Chief Scott Wiese. The killer, he said, carried out “widespread” carnage and escaped.

A few miles away in the Alhambra, Brandon Tsay was working the ticket counter at Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio when the same gunman entered the business that had been in his family for three generations. He knew the man was in trouble.

“He was looking for people in his body language, his facial expression, his eyes,” Tsay told The New York Times.

“He looked at me and looked around, making no secret that he was trying to hurt me,” he said. “His eyes were menacing.”

The gunman pointed a semi-automatic weapon at Tsay, the first gun he had seen in real life, he told the Times.

“My heart sank,” he said, “I knew I was going to die.”

Tsay took action and attacked the man, he told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“When I got the courage, I lunged at him with both hands, grabbed the gun, and we got into an argument,” Tsay said. “We were trying to get into the lobby, trying to get this gun away from each other.

They struggled for about a minute and a half, and Tsay eventually wrestled the gun from the gunman, he told the Times.

When Tsay gained control of the gun, he told the Times, he pointed it back at the suspect and yelled at him to “get the hell out of here.” The man fled and Tsay called the police.

Sheriff Luna initially said two people disarmed the man, but on Monday corrected himself to say Tsay was the only person responsible.

“He’s a hero who disarmed the suspect at the Alhambra site and, in my opinion, saved a lot of lives,” he said. “What a brave man he is.”


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