Monterey Park, California shooting: 11 victims ranged in age from 57 to 76 years old, coroner says


All 11 people killed in a mass shooting at a Lunar New Year dance studio in Monterey Park, California, were between the ages of 57 and 76, the LA County Coroner Medical Examiner’s office said in a statement.

The victims, five men and six women, were all identified publicly Tuesday by the coroner’s office. The female victims were identified as Xiujuan Yu, 57; Hongying Jian, 62; Lilian Li, 63 years old; Mymy Nhan, 65 years old; Muoi Dai Ung, 67; and Diana Man Ling Tom, 70. The male victims were identified as Wen-Tau Yu, 64; Valentino Marcos Alvero, 68; Ming Wei Ma, 72; Yu-Lun Kao, 72 years old; and Chia Ling Yau, 76.

As investigators work to determine the cause, the community faces a long road to recovery, the city’s mayor said.

“People are in disbelief and shaking, and they’re numb,” Mayor Henry Lo told CNN Monday night.

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Saturday night’s shooting came as many of the city’s Asian residents were celebrating the Lunar New Year, turning one of the most auspicious days on the calendar into tragedy.

“There is a lot of fear and anxiety outside. People are afraid of this kind of thing where our happy New Year’s celebration was turned into tragedy and fear,” Rep. Judy Chu, who represents Monterey Park, said Monday at a candlelight vigil for those affected.

California Governor Gavin Newsom met with the victims on Monday when he was called away to be briefed on another shooting in Half Moon Bay – the state’s second mass shooting in three days. “Terrible about tragedy,” Newsom said in a tweet.

Authorities released new information Monday from their search of the home of the Monterey Park shooting victim, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, in Hemet, about 80 miles east of Monterey Park.

Investigators served a search warrant and found “hundreds of rounds” of ammunition, a .308-caliber handgun, various electronic devices and evidence that led authorities to believe they were “making firearms,” ​​said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

However, as investigators sift through the large cache of ammo they found, it remains unclear what led to Saturday night’s attack at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio and later at the Lai Lai Ballroom.

“Did they do this? Was it a day? Was it last week?” Luna said at a press conference on Monday. “We don’t know. But we want to know. ”

Three people who knew Tran, including his ex-wife, told CNN that he was a popular figure at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where he gave informal dance lessons. But it’s unclear how many times he visited in recent years, if at all, and authorities are still investigating whether he knew any of the victims.

“It certainly appears that this happened,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón told CNN. He obviously knew where he was going, and he knew both areas very well.

Mayor Lo said Tuesday that he hopes the dance hall can once again be a safe place for the community.

“It was a place for people to hang out, learn to dance,” he said. “We want to make sure the dance hall continues to thrive and that people feel safe to hang out.”

The shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio happened around 10:22 pm on Saturday. The gunman fired 42 rounds from an automatic rifle at the dance floor before leaving the scene, according to Sheriff Luna.

At least one person was shot in a car outside the dance studio, and police believe Tran shot the person before entering the dance studio and shooting into the crowd, the sheriff said.

Monterey Park officers were on the scene within three to four minutes, arriving at the scene of the “killing” of people lying injured and others leaving the scene, Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said.

About 20 minutes after the shooting, the suspect – still armed – appeared at a second dance studio near the Alhambra. There, a 26-year-old civilian charged him and knocked the gun away from him, saving many lives, CNN’s Anderson Cooper told Monday.

“I just had a rush of emotions and adrenaline. I was able to get to the point where I needed to do something, I needed to get a gun. I needed to save myself and the people inside,” said Tsay.

The suspect fled and Tsay called police to the scene, where investigators found the gun in Tran’s possession, according to an officer familiar with the matter. The weapon was described as a 9 mm semi-automatic MAC-10 pistol with a large magazine, according to Luna, who added that the assault weapon appeared to have been modified.

California has banned the use of bulk magazines with more than 10 ammunition.

Less than a day later, Tran was found dead inside a white van about 30 miles away in Torrance when a SWAT team raided the vehicle. The sheriff said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigators also found a Norinco 7.62 x 25 handgun marked the suspect inside the van, Luna said.

Ballistic and forensic comparisons must be done on all items found at the shooter’s home, as authorities look into Tran’s background.

Meanwhile, the sheriff said the suspect had a “minor criminal record,” saying he was arrested in 1990 for illegal possession of a firearm.

Those who met the suspect said he was angry and difficult.

Ilie Bardahan, a dancer at the Lai Lai Ballroom in the Alhambra, said Tran had a “very bad attitude,” adding that “people said she was a little emotional.”

“A very sharp movement, a little push, not satisfied with some, I don’t know, changes in the students they had,” said Bardahan.

Adam Hood said he rented an apartment from Tran and knew him for 20 years, but they fell out and didn’t see each other for about 8 or 9 years. He said Tran was called “Andy.”

“His personality can be summed up in two words: mistrust – he didn’t trust anyone – and hatred. He could hate people to death. He pushed hard,” said Hood. “(He hated) anyone who he thought was not good for him. There were some dance teachers who didn’t like them all (dance studios).

Hood added that Tran thought “the teachers weren’t good to him, he thought they were talking bad about him. That was unfounded. He was always unhappy with the studio people, he always complained about the studio bosses and other teachers, not about the students. All it was in his mind.”

A man prays the rosary at a makeshift memorial outside the scene of a mass shooting at a dance floor on January 23, 2023 in Monterey Park, California.

Rep. Judy Chu said the shooting that killed 11 people Saturday night “took them away from their families on what was supposed to be a fun, New Year’s Eve.”

Two Taiwanese Americans were also among the victims, according to Taiwan’s representative in Los Angeles, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.

At least one of those killed was a Chinese national, and one of the victims, Alvero, was a US citizen from the Philippines, according to the US embassy in Los Angeles.

Alvero is the son told CNN his father he had hoped to retire for about a year to return to the Philippines, and said his father spent his free time at a dance studio.

“He dances in the house,” Val Anthony Alvero said of his father. “He liked that kind of thing.”

Nhan, known as “Mymy,” loved to dance and spent many years at the dance hall where she was killed, according to her family.

Nhan’s dance instructor, Maksym Kapitanchuk, told CNN he was happy to be a part of it.

“He’s always smiling,” Kapitanchuk said. “I don’t think I ever saw him without his smile – even through the mask I could see his smiling eyes. He was happy in the classroom, every party, every group.”

At Monday’s vigil, leaders spoke of the grief and loss in the Monterey Park community.

“This has hit very close to home,” said Chun-Yen Chen, CEO of the Asia Pacific Community Fund.

On Saturdays, the villagers celebrate the Lunar New Year in the football field with dancing grandmothers. “Now some of them are no longer with us,” he said.

Many leaders have thanked the people of the area for coming together in this disaster.

“We will not let this killer get us down,” former Assemblyman Mike Eng said at the event. “We will move forward with more enthusiasm and more love, because the only thing that conquers hate is love.”


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