San Francisco Chronicle
INVESTIGATORS HUNT FOR MOTIVE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA KILLINGS
The gunman who killed 11 and wounded nine during a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park Saturday night was previously arrested for illegally owning a firearm and had a rifle at home, authorities said. Huu Can Tran, 72, also had hundreds of rounds of ammunition and appeared to be manufacturing gun silencers. Tran was said to frequent the dance hall where the slayings took place.
MONTEREY PARK (Los Angeles County) — Investigators searching for a motive Monday in the worst mass shooting in Los Angeles County history said the gunman was previously arrested for illegally owning a firearm, had a rifle at home, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and appeared to be manufacturing gun silencers.
Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna said investigators had not yet established why 72-year-old Huu Can Tran gunned down revelers during a Lunar New Year celebration at a Monterey Park dance hall he was said to frequent.
“What drove a mad man to do this? We don’t know, but we intend to find out,” Luna said.
Tran fired 42 rounds at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Saturday night, killing 11 people and wounding nine. He then drove to another nearby dance hall where Brandon Tsay, who works at the establishment started by his grandparents, wrestled a modified 9mm submachine gun-style semiautomatic weapon away from him and saved “countless lives,” Luna said.
Officers who had surrounded a van matching descriptions of the getaway vehicle found Tran dead inside Sunday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A handgun was recovered from the van.
Sheriff’s deputies from Los Angeles County searched Tran’s home in a gated senior community in the town of Hemet, a little over an hour’s drive from the site of the massacre, Hemet police spokesperson Alan Reyes told the Associated Press.
Luna said his officers found a .308-caliber rifle, an unknown number of bullets and evidence he was making homemade firearm suppressors that muffle the sound of the weapons.
Tran had visited Hemet police twice this month to report he was the victim of fraud, theft and poisoning by family members
a decade or two ago in the L.A. area, Reyes said. Tran said he would return to the station with documentation but never did.
The mayor of Monterey Park said Tran may have frequented the first dance hall that he targeted, and his ex-wife told CNN she had met him there and he offered her free lessons.
The death toll rose to 11 Monday after health officials announced
that one of the 10 people wounded had died, the L.A. County Department of Health Services said.
All except one of the dead were 60 or older, according to information released Monday by the Los Angeles coroner’s office providing the first identifications.
My Nhan, 65, Lilian Li, 63, and Xiujuan Yu, 57, were the three women named. Two other women
were in their 60s, and one was in her 70s. Valentino Alvero, 68, was the only man identified. Three men in their 70s and one in his 60s were also killed.
Authorities have shared little about Tran, who once owned a trucking company, according to California business records.
He had a previous arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm in 1990 and otherwise had a limited criminal history, Luna said.