Southern California dance studio shooting is 2023’s fifth mass killing

The 10 people killed Saturday in a mass shooting at a Southern California dance studio where five women and five men succumbed to their wounds, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

Seven other people remain hospitalized after being injured in the attack.

Police say Huu Can Tran opened fire at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park, during a Lunar New Year festival celebration on Saturday night.

Authorities say the 72-year-old man suspected of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound after officers approached his vehicle after a manhunt across the region on Sunday. Tran’s motive remained unclear.

Subsequent to the initial attack, the gunman showed up at a second studio in nearby Alhambra, where authorities say a group of people confronted and disarmed him.

Luna said that Tran, an Asian male, walked into another dance hall in Alhambra where “some individuals wrestled the firearm away from him.”

“Remember, the suspect went to the Alhambra location after he conducted the shooting (in Monterey Park), and he was disarmed by two community members who I consider to be heroes,” said Luna.

The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office had joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Monterey Park Police in the investigation.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people that decades ago made history by becoming the nation’s first Asian-majority city after years of determined emigration from Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China.

Because of the city’s history as the country’s first Asian-majority suburb, Monterey Park’s Lunar New Year celebration attracts many people from around the region to its wide avenues for two days of festivities.

The target and timing of the shooting raised fears here that the motive could involve anti-Asian bias, prevalent across the state since the advent of the covid-19 pandemic.

This was the first in-person celebration to mark the start of a new year according to the traditional Chinese calendar since the start of the pandemic.

The festival commonly draws more than 100,000 visitors, and this year thousands crowded the city’s small downtown, lining up to sample pork buns and shrimp dumplings. Children giggled as they spun around carnival rides, and revelers bought trinkets commemorating the Year of the Rabbit.

Questions also remained about the weapon Tran used, as law enforcement recovered a semiautomatic pistol with an “extended large capacity magazine attached to it” that Luna said he did not think was legal in California.

The massacre in Monterey Park, Calif., is the fifth mass killing to take place this year in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Including the 10 people slain at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, 31 people had died as victims in mass killings in 2023 as of Saturday night, according to its database. The known ages of this year’s victims so far range from 4 to 78 years old.

By the equivalent date in 2022, Jan. 21, no mass killing had been recorded in the United States yet that year. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 2022’s first mass killing took place on Jan. 23 in Milwaukee.

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