Monterey Park shooting: what we know so far

At least 10 were killed at a Los Angeles-area dance hall, with the motive for the attack still unclear

At least 10 people have been killed in a shooting at a dance hall on Saturday night in a city close to Los Angeles, on the eve of the lunar new year.

Here’s what we know, and what we still don’t know, about the deadliest US mass shooting in recent months.

The shooting

A gunman opened fire around 10.20pm on Saturday night at a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, California. Ten people – five men and five women – died at the scene, and at least 10 more were taken to nearby hospitals with injuries, officials said.

Twenty to 30 minutes later, a man with a gun entered another dance venue in nearby Alhambra, California, authorities said. People at the second ballroom wrestled the gun away from him, and the suspect fled. Authorities said they believed the two incidents were connected.

The suspect

Law enforcement officials have identified the suspect as Huu Can Tran, a 72-year-old Asian man. Tran was found dead on Sunday morning in a white van that police had identified as a suspicious vehicle. They said he had died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Earlier in the day, they had released photos of a man initially described as being in his 30s to 50s, and described him as armed, dangerous, and at large.

On Saturday January 21, 2023 at 10:22 PM the suspect male/adult/Asian pictured above was involved in a shooting. Investigators have identified him as a Homicide suspect and he should be considered armed and dangerous.
Contact LASD Homicide with any information at 323-890-5000.

— Robert Luna (@LACoSheriff) January 22, 2023

The context

Monterey Park and Alhambra are majority-Asian American towns outside Los Angeles. In 2017, Monterey Park was named as “one of the best places to live in America”. The city was the first on mainland US to have a majority of residents with Asian ancestry, as migrants from Taiwan, China, Japan and Vietnam settled in the community.

The victims

The coroner’s office is “still in the process of identifying” the victims who were killed, the Los Angeles county sheriff, Robert Luna, said on Sunday. The ages of the victims appear to be in their 50s, 60s and “maybe even some beyond there”, Luna said.

Dance instructors who taught classes at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park told news outlets that the ballroom studio served a predominantly older, Asian American clientele.

The motive

Officials said they were still investigating the motive behind the shooting, including whether it was a hate crime or a deadly incident of domestic violence. The shooting happened not far from a popular lunar new year celebration in downtown Monterey Park. Further celebrations were cancelled there on Sunday, and lunar new year celebrations elsewhere in the US continued with heightened security.

The weapon

Two weapons have been identified so far, including a handgun with a high capacity magazine.

The weapon recovered from the Alhambra location where the shooter was disarmed was described as magazine-fed semiautomatic assault pistol with a high-capacity magazine attached, Luna said. He said it initially appeared that weapon would be illegal under California law.

Another firearm, found in the white van where the suspect was discovered this morning, was a handgun, he said.

Manhunt that led to the suspect

Police say Tran was found dead in a white van following an hours-long manhunt.

The van was stopped by law enforcement in Torrance, California, around 10.30am, on Sunday morning. Law enforcement officials heard one gunshot from within the van, Luna said.

Swat vehicles and other law enforcement cars surrounded the van for several hours on Sunday afternoon before officers entered the van, an operation that local TV news cameras broadcast live.

The Associated Press contributed reporting


Lois Beckett in Los Angeles

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Monterey Park shooting rocks ‘most peaceful’ town amid lunar new year
Violence hits LA-area community, ending first in-person celebration since pandemic began

Abené Clayton in Monterey Park, California

23, Jan, 2023 @6:00 AM

Article image
Monterey Park shooter: police ask why he attacked dance hall he frequented
All 11 victims of the shooting have now been identified, with all of them, except one, being in their 60s and 70s

Guardian staff and agencies

24, Jan, 2023 @11:23 PM

Article image
Shooting in Los Angeles park leaves at least two dead
Seven people taken to hospital after gunfire erupts at informal car show at Peck Park in San Pedro area

Guardian staff and agencies

25, Jul, 2022 @6:21 AM

Article image
‘It perpetuates fear’: Monterey Park shooting compounds trauma in Asian American communities
The tragedy revived fears, anxiety and trauma of the last three years of the pandemic, which saw a surge in anti-Asian hate

Sam Levin in Los Angeles

24, Jan, 2023 @2:50 AM

Article image
Monterey Park shooting: suspect dead of self-inflicted gunshot wound, police say – as it happened
Suspect in shooting at southern California dance studio identified as 72-year-old man

Lois Beckett (now); Maya Yang and Joanna Walters (earlier)

23, Jan, 2023 @2:39 AM

Article image
Monterey Park shooting death toll rises to 11, including dance hall manager
California officials name two of those killed, while friends and colleagues say much-loved ‘Mr Ma’ was among dead

Lois Beckett in Los Angeles and Richard Luscombe

24, Jan, 2023 @1:01 AM

Article image
Doting aunt, dance-loving mother, ‘Mr Nice’: community mourns Monterey Park shooting victims
Family accounts tell an interwoven story about the hope of starting afresh in a new country and shared joy

Taylor Weik

26, Jan, 2023 @6:00 AM

Article image
Scorched film sets: a Hollywood park after wildfires
Recent blazes scorched 90% of the federally protected Santa Monica Mountains – destroying a 1950s Hollywood set and affecting biodiversity. But life is slowly coming back

Gabrielle Canon, with photography by Dan Tuffs

14, Feb, 2019 @9:48 PM

Article image
‘This isn’t the America of our dreams’: shock and sorrow in Monterey Park after deadly shooting
Locals of the LA neighbourhood known as ‘the Chinese Beverly Hills’ have had their world shaken by the attack on a dance studio on Saturday

Claire Wang in Monterey Park, California

24, Jan, 2023 @6:00 AM

Article image
UCLA murder-suicide shooting leaves two dead on campus
Shooter opened fire in engineering building, triggering a campus lockdown and citywide tactical alert by police who responded with helicopters and Swat teams

Rory Carroll in Los Angeles

02, Jun, 2016 @2:18 AM