MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — The 11 people killed in a shooting at a dance hall ranged in age from 57 to 76, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said Tuesday, releasing the names of the dead as investigators continue to determine a motive. the worst shooting in the country’s history.
Sheriff Robert Luna called the gunman, Huu Kang Chan, 72, “crazy” and said investigators were looking into whether he was related to the people who were shot at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.
Tran fired 42 rounds from a semi-automatic weapon Saturday night, killing 11 people and wounding nine at a ballroom popular with older Asian-Americans. He then drove to another nearby dance hall, where an employee wrested a modified 9mm submachine gun-style weapon from him, Luna said.
Tran shot himself to death Sunday as officers surrounded the van he was in. A gun matching the description of the vehicle in which he fled the dance studio was found in the van.
The shooting was the nation’s fifth mass killing in a year and the deadliest attack since May 24, when 21 people were killed at an elementary school in Uwald, Texas.
While residents of Monterey Park and Asian Americans were reeling from Monday’s violence, a gunman in Northern California killed seven people at two farms. This is the third mass shooting in California in eight days.
The names of six women and five men killed in a Monterey park were released Tuesday. All but one were in their 60s and 70s.
A man who identified himself as his longtime friend told the Associated Press. Tran offered to teach new women at both clubs how to dance for free so he could have a partner.
According to a former friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak about Chan, Chan was always distrustful and paranoid and regularly complained that people in clubs didn’t like him because he wanted to avoid media attention.
“He always cast a suspicious eye on everything. He just didn’t trust people at all,” the friend said. “He always complained to me that the instructors . . . kept their distance from him, and he said a lot of people bad mouthed him.”
Investigators were also looking into reports Tran made twice this month to police in the city where he lived that family members tried to poison him, cheated and stole from him a decade ago in the Los Angeles area, a spokesman said. of the Hemet Police Allan Reyes. Associated Press. Tran never returned with the documentation he promised to provide.
“Our investigators will be looking at all of these factors to see if they contributed to the madness that occurred,” Luna told reporters.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies searched Tran’s home in a gated senior community in Hemet, just over an hour’s drive from the scene of the massacre.
Officers found a .308-caliber rifle, an unknown amount of ammunition and evidence that he had been making homemade firearm silencers, which muffle the sound of weapons.
Tran lived in the Lakes on Hemet West, a gated community on a busy road overlooking snow-capped mountains. The complex has a par-3 golf course, a shuffleboard court and a dance floor. Properties listed for sale ranged in price from $45,000 to $222,000.
A neighbor, Pat Roth, told KNBC in Los Angeles that Tran said he used to be a ballroom dance instructor and sometimes showed up at dances at the senior community.
“It looked like he wouldn’t hurt a fly, you know. He wasn’t a big guy,” Roth said. “He was petting your dog as you walked by.”
Hemet police had no record of any incidents involving Chan in the community or calls to his home, Reyes said.
Authorities say little about Tran, who owned a trucking company in Monterey Park from 2002 to 2004, according to California business records.
He was arrested once for illegal possession of a firearm in 1990 and had a limited criminal history, Luna said. The sheriff could not immediately say when a gun seizure at a time when firearms laws were different would have barred him from having a gun.
Tran’s ex-wife told CNN that they married shortly after meeting at the Star Ballroom, where he offered to teach her to dance for free. He would get upset if she missed a tap dance, but was never violent toward her, she said.
They divorced five years later, citing irreconcilable differences, Los Angeles Superior Court records show. The couple had no children, stated that they had no joint property and that neither party had to pay alimony.
Although her name appears in court documents, she asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case.
The women killed were Diana Thom, 70, Muoi Ung, 67, Mai Nhan, 65, Lilian Li, 63, Hong Jian, 62, and Xujuan Yu, 57, according to the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office. The men are: Chia Yau, 76, Ming Ma, 72, Yu Cao, 72, Valentino Alvera, 68, and Wen Yu, 64.
Tran might have killed many more if not for the heroics of Brandon Tsai, who was working at a dance club in nearby Alhambra when Tran walked in about 20 minutes after the Monterey Park massacre.
Tsai reacted quickly and disarmed Chan in a brief scuffle caught on surveillance camera inside the Lai Lai Ballroom.
“The guy was cocking a gun,” said his father, Tom Tse, co-owner of the studio. “He saw an opportunity and just jumped in.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom met Tsai, 26, who works part-time at a dance club founded by his grandparents, on Monday and said he is a true hero.
“This is a remarkable young man who without hesitation — albeit with moments of fear — took it upon himself to save countless lives,” Newsom said. “Who knows how many lives he saved.”
Brandon Tsai said he is proud of his actions but does not want to discuss them to focus on the victims.
“Some of these people I know personally,” Tsai said grimly outside his family’s home. – They come to our studio. This is a close-knit community and I hope they can heal from this tragic event.”