Monterey Park Shooter Identified, Motive Still Unclear

Surveillance footage of Monterey Park suspect. (Credit: Christina Pascucci/FoxLA)

We’ve been covering Saturday’s tragic Monterey Park, California, shooting and its aftermath. As we reported Sunday afternoon, the suspected gunman was barricaded in a white cargo van and involved in a standoff with police in Torrance, California. The standoff concluded with the suspect dead, reportedly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


Prior to the standoff, the Sheriff’s Department released photos of the suspect and confirmed an apparent connection between the Monterey Park shooting and the Alhambra incident shortly thereafter.

In that second incident, at the Lai Lai Ballroom, the suspect was disarmed by another patron before anyone was injured:

The shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio happened around 10:22 p.m. as the city’s large Asian American community was celebrating Lunar New Year weekend. About 17 to 20 minutes later, an armed man showed up at a second dance studio in nearby Alhambra where authorities say people wrestled a gun away from him – a firearm authorities ultimately used to ID the suspect, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case. The semi-automatic weapon was traced to the suspect, which gave authorities his name and description, the official said.


Officials have now identified the man as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, an immigrant from China, who was once a regular at the dance studio where the shooting occurred.

Per CNN:

Tran had once been a regular patron at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, his ex-wife and a longtime acquaintance both told CNN.

Tran’s former wife, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the case, said she met Tran about two decades ago at Star Ballroom, a popular community gathering place where he gave informal lessons. Tran saw her at a dance, introduced himself and offered her free lessons, she said. The two married soon after, she said.

While Tran was never violent to her, she said he could be quick to anger. For example, she said, if she missed a step dancing, he would become upset because he felt it made him look bad. Tran filed for divorce in late 2005, and a judge approved the divorce the following year, Los Angeles court records show.

Another friend described a troubled relationship between Tran and the studio:

Another longtime acquaintance of Tran’s also remembered him as a frequent presence at the dance studio. The friend, who also asked not to be named, was close to Tran in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when he said Tran would make the roughly five-minute drive from his home in San Gabriel to Star Ballroom Dance Studio “almost every night.”

Tran often complained at the time that the instructors at the dance hall didn’t like him and said “evil things about him,” the friend remembered, adding Tran was “hostile to a lot of people there.”


While Tran’s motive for the shooting remains unclear, investigators have obtained a search warrant for his home in Hemet, California.



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