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Terror at Monterey Park dance studio: What we know about Lunar New Year mass shooting

Investigators searching for a motive in one of the worst mass shootings in modern Los Angeles County history say a search of the suspected gunman’s home discovered a rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and evidence he was manufacturing gun silencers.

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On Saturday afternoon, thousands were celebrating the Lunar New Year festival in Monterey Park, a city at the heart of Los Angeles County’s Chinese community.

The festival ended around 9 p.m. A little over an hour later, gunfire erupted inside Star Ballroom Dance Studio on West Garvey Avenue, which is near where the festival took place.

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Here is what we know about the mass shooting that left 11 dead and nine wounded.

What happened inside the studio?

  • Few details have emerged from inside the studio. But one Monterey Park resident, Wong Wei, said a friend was in the bathroom when the shooting started. When she came out, she saw a gunman and three bodies.
  • Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant on Garvey Avenue, said three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door. The shooter, they said, had multiple rounds of ammunition and reloaded when it ran out, Choi said.
  • When police arrived, officers found people “pouring out of the location, screaming,” L.A. County sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Meyer said. The officers entered the studio and located additional victims.
  • After opening fire at the Monterey Park dance studio Saturday night, the gunman went to a second dance facility in nearby Alhambra, where he was disarmed by Brandon Tsay, whose family owns the studio.
  • The gunman was later identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran.

What do we know about the victims?

  • Ten victims were killed the night of the shooting, and an 11th victim died Monday at L.A. County-USC Medical Center.
  • The deceased were identified by the L.A. County Coroner as:

    • Mymy Nhan, 65
    • Lilan Li, 63
    • Xiujuan Yu, 57
    • Muoi Dai Ung, 67
    • Hongying Jian, 62
    • Yu-Lun Kao, 72
    • Chia Ling Yau, 76
    • Valentino Marcus Alvero, 68
    • Wen-Tau Yu, 64
    • Ming Wei Ma, 72
    • Diana Man Ling Tom, 70
  • Injured victims were taken to L.A. County-USC Medical Center and other area hospitals. Jorge Orozco, chief executive of LAC-USC, said Tuesday that two victims had been discharged, a 73-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man. The remaining victim at LAC-USC was in critical care.
  • The conditions of the six other injured victims were not immediately known Tuesday.

What do we know about a motive?

  • Authorities have yet to confirm a motive for the shooting. On Monday, however, the investigation focused on the gunman’s prior interactions at the dance studios, and whether jealousy over a relationship was the motive. The shootings may have been sparked by a personal dispute, they said.
  • Inside the gunman’s home in Hemet, investigators found a .308-caliber rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, electronic devices and items that led officials to suspect he was manufacturing firearm suppressors, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.
  • At 72, Tran was the oldest mass shooter in recent history, according to research groups that track such incidents.

Is there a connection to the Lunar New Year?

  • People came from around the region for the festival, which is considered one of the biggest in L.A. County, but the day’s events had ended before the shooting started. Authorities have not ruled out any motives and stressed that the investigation is still in its early stages.

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