Residents in Monterey Park, Calif., shared their experiences of hearing about the shooting that killed 10 people at a ballroom dance hall on Jan 21. (Video: Joyce Koh, Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman/The Washington Post, Photo: Philip Cheung/The Washington Post)
MONTEREY PARK, Calif. — Police said the suspect in the killing of at least 10 people at a dance studio in Monterey Park was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday afternoon as officers closed in on his vehicle following a furious manhunt.
The massacre unfolded just as the Monterey Park community had begun to celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year. It sent a wave of fear through this predominantly Asian suburb of Los Angeles, turning a festive occasion into one marked by grief and shock.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the suspect as Huu Can Tran, a 72-year-old of Asian descent. He said the motive for the shooting — which he called “absolutely heartbreaking” and “heinous” — remained unclear.
“Our job is to collect every shred of this awful puzzle,” Luna told reporters Sunday. “We’re looking at every angle.”
The mass killing took place at about 10:20 p.m. Saturday, police said, at a location on Garvey Avenue that is home to Star Ballroom Dance Studio. Ten people were pronounced dead at the scene, Luna said. At least 10 others were taken to hospitals.
Authorities said the gunman then went to a second dance studio in neighboring Alhambra, where two patrons wrested a gun from him and no one was hurt. The community members who confronted the suspect were “heroes,” Luna said. “This could have been much worse.”
At the second scene, authorities recovered a semiautomatic pistol with a large-capacity magazine, Luna said, adding that he did not think the weapon was legal in California.
The suspect was seen leaving the Alhambra dance studio in a white van. On Sunday, the vehicle was spotted by police in Torrance, Calif., about 40 minutes away by car. After officers pulled up behind the vehicle, they heard a single gunshot from inside the van, Luna said.
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