Mass Shooting Suspect Kills Himself in Van During SWAT Standoff in Torrance (2023)

A suspect in a mass shooting in which 10 people were killed and another 10 wounded at a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park killed himself inside a white van at a Torrance strip mall during a Sunday standoff with law enforcement.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has identified the gunman as Huu Can Tran, 72. Authorities said the man turned a handgun on himself Sunday morning when approached by police.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said during a Sunday evening press conference the motive for Saturday’s mass shooting was not known and that the suspect wielded a pistol with a high-capacity magazine.

The sheriff added that the pistol Tran used appeared to be illegal inCalifornia, where state laws ban any magazine holding more than 10 rounds.

“We want to know, we want to know how something this awful can happen,” Luna told reporters.

The mass shooting occurred at 10:22 p.m. Saturday at the Star Dance Studio in the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue, Homicide Bureau Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told reporters at the scene during an early morning news conference.

Ten people were pronounced dead at the scene and the 10 injured were listed in stable to critical condition at area hospitals including Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, Meyer said.

Luna said the 10 dead were five men and five women all aged 50 and older. Of the injured, seven remained hospitalized Sunday night, with at least one person in critical condition.

About 17 minutes after the Monterey Park shooting, a man walked into the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in the 100 block of South Garfield Avenue in neighboring Alhambra with a gun, but two people wrestled the weapon away from him and he fled, Luna said.

“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,” Luna said.

In what he earlier had called a “preliminary description,” Luna had said the shooter was an Asian man between 30 and 50 years old. The sheriff’s department later released surveillance images of the suspect taken from the Alhambra incident and added that he was 5-feet-10 inches tall and 150 pounds, and last seen wearing a black leather jacket, beanie and glasses.

Luna added that authorities were searching for a white cargo van the suspect might have used to escape.

(Video) Standoff underway in Torrance possibly related to Monterey Park mass shooting suspect

Torrance police later cornered a white van at a parking lot on the south side of Sepulveda Boulevard, just west of Hawthorne Boulevard, at a strip mall not far from Del Amo Fashion Center. Police maneuvered two SWAT vehicles on either end of the van, butting up against it, while a large number of police vehicles stood by for support.

All lanes at the intersection of Hawthorne and Sepulveda were closed for the police investigation.

A law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times that shots were fired, but it was not clear if anyone was hit. A bomb squad truck was sent to the strip mall, which contains a Tokyo Central outlet and a Daiso store. A sheriff’s department helicopter also landed on Hawthorne Boulevard and was standing by.

Authorities entered the van shortly before 1 p.m. and found Tran in the driver’s seat dead from one or more gunshot wounds.

Investigators continue to seek a motive for Saturday’s attack. The shooting took place near a large celebration for the Chinese New Year.

The gunman has been identified as Huu Can Tran, 72. Authorities say Tran took his own life inside a white van in Torrance after police surrounded his vehicle. #MontereyPark Updates: https://t.co/q8OFgyMhlV pic.twitter.com/oTIVNvuISB

— KTLA (@KTLA) January 23, 2023

The city of Monterey Park canceled Sunday’s planned second day of the two-day celebration, but other holiday events were still planned throughout Southern California. Luna said at the Sunday morning news conference that he would be attending a similar event in a few hours, and encouraged the public to continue celebrating the holiday.

The manhunt drew assistance from the FBI, the ATF, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and a host of local law enforcement agencies. Luna said authorities recovered the weapon from the Alhambra incident.

Asked if it might be a hate crime, the sheriff said, “Everything is on the table.”

However, Chester Chong, chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce L.A., told ABC7 that he knew the husband and wife who own the studio and he believed it was a domestic violence incident.

“Sometimes, the wife go (to the dance studio) and the husband does not go. That’s why he’s so upset, and because we have so many guns, it’s too easy to bring a gun over there to kill people. It’s horrible, it’s very sad,” Chong said.

(Video) Police search van after 10 people were killed in California massacre

“This is not a hate crime, this is not. This case is a personal case,” he said.

Monterey Park has a population of about 61,000, roughly 66% of whom are Asian. Witnesses said several of Saturday’s victims were senior citizens who appeared to be Asian.

About 50% of Alhambra’s population of nearly 82,000 is Asian.

Hate crimes targeting Asians increased by 339% nationwide in 2021, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism reported.

Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call sheriff’s homicide detectives at 323-890-5500 or leave anonymous tips on the Crime Stoppers line at 800-222-8477.

Ten people were killed and at least 10 others were wounded in a mass shooting at a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night, and authorities cornered a vehicle containing the possible suspect at a strip mall in Torrance Sunday.

The attack occurred at 10:22 p.m. Saturday at the Star Dance Studio in the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue, Homicide Bureau Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told reporters at the scene during an early morning news conference.

Ten people were pronounced dead at the scene and the 10 injured were listed in stable to critical condition at area hospitals including Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, Meyer said. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the 10 dead were five men and five women.

About 17 minutes after the Monterey Park shooting, a man walked into the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in the 100 block of South Garfield Avenue in neighboring Alhambra with a gun, but some people wrestled the weapon away from him and he fled, Luna said.

In what he called a “preliminary description,” Luna said the shooter was an Asian man between 30 and 50 years old. The sheriff’s department later released surveillance images of the suspect taken from the Alhambra incident and added that he was 5-feet-10 inches tall and 150 pounds, and last seen wearing a black leather jacket, a beanie and glasses.

Luna added that authorities were searching for a white cargo van the suspect might have used to escape.

Torrance police later cornered a white van at a parking lot on the south side of Sepulveda Boulevard, just west of Hawthorne Boulevard, at a strip mall not far from Del Amo Fashion Center. Police maneuvered two SWAT vehicles on either end of the van, butting up against it, while a large number of police vehicles stood by for support.

(Video) Man's body found in white van searched by authorities in Torrance

All lanes at the intersection of Hawthorne and Sepulveda were closed for the investigation.

A law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times that shots were fired, but it was not clear if anyone was hit. A bomb squad truck was sent to the strip mall, which contains a Tokyo Central outlet and a Daiso store.

A sheriff’s department helicopter also landed on Hawthorne Boulevard and was standing by.

The motive for Saturday’s attack has not been released, but the shooting took place near a large celebration for the Chinese New Year.

The city of Monterey Park canceled Sunday’s planned second day of the two-day celebration, but other holiday events were still planned throughout Southern California. Luna said at a Sunday morning news conference that he would be attending a similar event in a few hours, and encouraged the public to continue celebrating the holiday.

Police Chief Michel Moore said the Los Angeles Police Department has “added patrols across our Asian communities today and will meet with any organizers hosting New Year celebrations.”

“We are working closely with @LASDHQ and @MontereyParkPD to support in any manner possible. Such a tragic loss of life and a dark day,” Moore tweeted.

The Long Beach Police Department also said its officers would be increasing patrols Sunday.

The manhunt was drawing assistance from the FBI, the ATF, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and a host of local law enforcement agencies. Luna said authorities recovered the weapon from the Alhambra incident, but he did not say what kind of weapon was used in the Monterey Park shooting.

Asked if it might be a hate crime, the sheriff said, “Everything is on the table.”

However, Chester Chong, chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce L.A., told ABC7 that he knew the husband and wife who own the studio and he believed it was a domestic violence incident.

“Sometimes, the wife go (to the dance studio) and the husband does not go. That’s why he’s so upset, and because we have so many guns, it’s too easy to bring a gun over there to kill people. It’s horrible, it’s very sad,” Chong said.

(Video) Body found inside white van possibly connected to mass shooting

“This is not a hate crime, this is not. This case is a personal case,” he said.

Chong’s account was unconfirmed.

A news videographer at the scene in Alhambra said people at the business were able to disarm the male suspect, who fled the scene, and no injuries were reported.

The Monterey Park shooting occurred about an hour after thousands of people had been in the area for the first day of a two-day Lunar New Year festival that had ended before the shots were fired. Most of the crowds had already left the area.

Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from the shooting site, told the Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door because a man with a semiautomatic gun was in the area, The Times reported.

They told Choi the shooter had multiple rounds of ammunition and was able to reload his weapon, according to the paper.

Monterey Park has a population of about 61,000, roughly 66% of whom are Asian. Witnesses said several of Saturday’s victims were senior citizens who appeared to be Asian.

About 50% of Alhambra’s population of nearly 82,000 is Asian.

Saturday’s shooting was the worst mass shooting in Los Angeles County since a disgruntled ex-husband killed 10 people, including himself, in Covina in 2008.

City News Service and Reuters contributed to this report.

Updated 5:30 p.m., 6:10 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22, 2023

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