Gunman who killed 11 did not know dance corridor victims

Gunman who killed 11 did not know dance corridor victims

Gunman who killed 11 did not know dance corridor victims

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — The 72-year-old gunman who sprayed bullets right into a Southern California ballroom dance corridor, killing 11 individuals, had no identified reference to the victims and investigators have been nonetheless attempting to find out a motive for the bloodbath, the Los Angeles County sheriff stated Wednesday.

Earlier than the taking pictures Saturday night time, Huu Can Tran parked a motorbike only a block away from the ballroom in Monterey Park, which investigators imagine he had deliberate to make use of as a backup getaway car, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna stated throughout a information convention hours after police seized the motorbike.

Tran opened hearth on a largely aged crowd of dancers on the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, killing 11 individuals and wounding 9, police stated.

The carnage, throughout what ought to have been joyful Lunar New 12 months celebrations, despatched ripples of concern via Asian American communities already coping with elevated hatred and violence directed at them.

Some stories had stated Tran frequented the dance corridor and fancied himself as an teacher, however Luna stated he hadn’t been there in at the least 5 years and didn’t seem to focus on the victims particularly.

“We have now not been capable of set up a connection between the suspect and any of the victims to date,” Luna stated.

Luna stated it wasn’t clear how lengthy Tran had been planning the assault within the metropolis about 8 miles (12.8 kilometers) from downtown Los Angeles or what prompted him to spray at the least 42 bullets, taking time to reload his weapon, a variant of the MAC-10 semiautomatic machine pistol with a 30-round journal.

Tran’s motive continued to elude detectives days after the tragedy as they searched piles of things and paperwork seized from Tran’s house and a van he used to flee, the sheriff stated.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Luna stated. “It actually doesn’t.”

About 20 minutes after the carnage in Monterey Park, Tran entered one other dance corridor about 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) away in Alhambra, the place an worker confronted and disarmed him throughout a short battle. Tran later shot himself within the van the place his physique was discovered Sunday morning.

Tran, who was of Vietnamese descent and lived in Hong Kong, had been within the U.S. for seven or eight years. He purchased the machine pistol in Monterey Park in 1999 nevertheless it was not registered in California, the sheriff stated. The gun and the high-capacity journal are unlawful in California.

Luna stated Tran used a registered semiautomatic handgun when he died by suicide, and a registered bolt-action rifle was discovered at his house in Hemet, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) from Monterey Park. His solely identified legal historical past was a 1990 arrest for illegal possession of a firearm however there was no indication of a conviction.

Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese on Wednesday defended his determination to not warn the general public for hours {that a} killer was on the free, saying he didn’t have sufficient info on the time to successfully alert residents.

Wiese stated police within the area have been alerted nevertheless it didn’t make sense to ship out a warning at night time to residents within the predominantly Asian American metropolis, even after studying the suspect could have focused a close-by dance membership after the bloodbath.

“I’m not going to ship my officers door to door waking individuals up and telling them that we’re in search of a male Asian in Monterey Park,” Wiese advised The Related Press. “It’s not going to do us any good.”

The taking pictures at 10:22 p.m. Saturday occurred simply an hour or so after tens of 1000’s of individuals attended Lunar New 12 months festivities within the metropolis. The general public was not notified of the mass taking pictures for 5 hours, elevating questions on why an alert wasn’t despatched to individuals within the space.

Wiese, who was sworn in as chief two days earlier than the taking pictures, stated police have been piecing collectively info from some 40 witnesses, together with many who didn’t converse English, and didn’t wish to broadcast incorrect info. He stated notifying different native, state and federal companies gave them the flexibility to get the phrase out.

Lower than 48 hours later, a gunman in Northern California shot eight fellow farmworkerskilling seven, at mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay. The shooter was of Chinese language descent and many of the victims have been Asian.

Exterior the locked gates of in Monterey Park’s Star Dance Studio, a memorial grew larger Wednesday with mounds of bouquets and balloons. A whole lot of individuals carrying flowers, candles and incense confirmed up for a vigil.

Marlene Xu gathered with fellow dancers by a row of flower-framed images of the victims. Xu stated she danced on the studio 4 instances per week and spent a whole day and night time in tears after the violence.

“It’s exhausting for us as a result of it’s part of my life,” she stated. “It’s like part of your life is gone.”

Vice President Kamala Harris visited the memorial Wednesday, including her personal bouquet, earlier than heading to a senior heart to speak to kin of the victims. She paused in entrance of every of the big, rose-framed placards that contained images or names of the victims on the memorial.

Talking briefly to reporters, Harris relayed sentiments on behalf of President Joe Biden and referred to as for Congress to enact stricter gun management legal guidelines.

“Tragically we hold saying the identical issues,” Harris stated. “Can they do one thing? Sure. Ought to they do one thing? Sure. Will they do one thing? That’s the place all of us should converse up.”

Pope Francis was amongst these providing condolences, saying in a message to the Los Angeles archbishop that he “implores the divine items of therapeutic and comfort upon the injured and bereaved.”

Wiese stated he’s seen lots throughout his three decade profession, however a number of the first officers on the scene have been rookies who had by no means confronted such carnage and the trauma can be exhausting to overlook.

Paramedics have been loading the wounded into ambulances and treating others inside when the chief arrived. There have been our bodies each 10 ft: some slumped over tables, others sprawled on the dance flooring.

“It’s exhausting to place phrases to it,” he stated. “It takes your breath away whenever you see it. And it sort of burns the picture into your mind.”


Melley reported from Los Angeles. Related Press journalist Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.

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