What we know about Lunar new year tragedy in California

Andrew Meyer briefs media

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Capt. Andrew Meyer briefs the media in Monterey Park, California, on Sunday. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

A mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, a majority Asian American city east of Los Angeles, left 10 people dead and 10 others injured on the eve of Lunar New Year Saturday night, local authorities said.

The latest: The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office on Monday released the names of two of the people killed in the shooting. Eight victims ranging in age from 50s to 70s have yet to be identified.

  • The identified victims were My Nhan, a 65-year-old woman, and Lilan Li, a 63-year-old woman.
  • The Star Ballroom Dance Studio where the shooting took place released a statement on Facebook early Monday morning, saying the studio would be closed until further notice, hoping those impacted would getspace to grieve and process what transpired within the last 24 hours.”
  • “What should have been a festive night to welcome the first day of the Lunar New Year turned into a tragedy,” the statement read.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna at a Sunday evening news conference identified the suspect as Huu Can Tran, a 72-year-old man whose body he said was found inside a cargo van with self-inflicted gunshot wounds following a standoff with police in Torrance, California. Police were investigating a motive.

  • Luna said Tran was the only suspect in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio shooting and a second incident in the nearby city of Alhambra shortly afterward, which ended without injury when two civilians disarmed the suspect.

  • It wasn’t immediately clear how many guns were used in the shooting, but law enforcement had seized a semi-automatic pistol and found a handgun in the van where Tran’s body was found.
 Flowers and a candle placed at the entrance to the Star Ballroom Dance Studio after police took down the crime scene tape in Monterey Park on Sunday.
Flowers and a candle placed at the entrance to the Star Ballroom Dance Studio after police took down the crime scene tape in Monterey Park on Sunday. Photo: Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The big picture: The Montery Park shooting occurred at 10:22pm Saturday in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Andrew Meyer told reporters Sunday.

  • Five women and five men died at the scene and the wounded victims were transported to local hospitals, their conditions ranging from stable to critical, Luna said. Seven people remained hospitalized Sunday evening, per Luna.
  • Police released photos earlier Sunday of the suspected shooter, whom they said was an Asian man they described as “armed and dangerous,” as law enforcement investigated the other incident in Alhambra.
  • Luna praised the civilians who disarmed the suspect at Alhambra’s Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio for saving lives.

What we’re watching: It’s too early to say whether the suspected shooter knew any of the victims or if the attack was targeted, Meyer said.

  • Luna said he believed the “magazine-fed semiautomatic assault pistol” recovered from the scene in Alhambra “is not legal to have here in the State of California.”

State of play: President Biden on Sunday evening ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff at the White House and other federal buildings until sunset Thursday as “a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence,” per a White House statement.

  • Biden said in a statement earlier Sunday evening that he had directed his homeland security adviser to “mobilize full federal support to local and state authorities as they continue to respond and investigate this shooting.”
A screenshot of a tweet by President Biden saying he's "praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park," adding that he's monitoring the situation closely.
Photo: President Biden/Twitter

Zoom in: Monterey Park was hosting a two-day Lunar New Year celebration this weekend that’s one of the largest in Southern California, AP notes. 

  • The shooting took place in the city of some 60,000 people’s downtown, where red lanterns lined the streets, per AP
  • Sunday’s planned festivities were canceled “out of an abundance of caution and in reverence for the victims,” Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese told reporters.

Zoom out: Cities across the country bolstered their security and increased police patrols for Lunar New Year celebrations in the aftermath of the mass shooting, CNN reports.

By the numbers: The Monterey Park tragedy was the 23rd mass shooting in the U.S. this year, per the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as when four or more people have been shot, excluding the shooter.

What they’re saying: “I want to assure the community of Monterey Park and the broader area that we will support you in every way we can,” Biden said. “Even as we continue searching for answers about this attack, we know how deeply this attack has impacted the AAPI community.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said at the Sunday evening news conference the local community “was in fear thinking that they should not go to any events because there was an active shooter,” but they could now feel safe.

  • “It is horrible that such a thing could occur at a time of celebration for so many in the AAPI community and in the Asian community worldwide,” she said.
A screenshot of a tweet from Gov. Gavin Newsom offering his condolences to the the victims of the state's latest shooting and saying he's monitoring the situation.
Photo: California Gov. Gavin Newsom/Twitter

L.A. Mayor Karen Bass tweeted, “Families deserve to celebrate the holidays in peace — mass shootings and gun violence are a plague on our communities.”

Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo, offering condolences to the shooting victims and their families at a Sunday news conference, said: “It is important that we be there for them, to provide services and support they need in what will be a time of healing in the next weeks, months, if not years.”

Vice President Kamala Harris said at an event Sunday that at a time of a cultural celebration, “yet another community has been torn apart by senseless gun violence” as she paid tribute to those affected by the latest tragedy and added she grieved “for those many people whose lives are forever changed.”

Stop AAPI Hate issued a statement Sunday, calling the shooting “devastating beyond words.”

“After a day of celebration, we are waking up to a nightmare… Our community has faced so much tragedy and trauma over the last several years. This tremendous act of violence, on one of the most important days of the year for many Asian Americans, at a place where Asian American families come to gather and celebrate, is sending shockwaves through our community.”

Stop AAPI Hate statement

Go deeper… In photos: Monterey Park honors mass shooting victims

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional details throughout.

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