Who was Huu Can Tran? Suspect in California Monterey Park shooting allegedly took his own life

The suspect met his wife at the location where the shooting took place (image via Jae C. Hong/ The Associated Press)
The suspect met his wife at the location where the shooting took place (image via Jae C. Hong/ The Associated Press)

On Saturday, January 21, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran allegedly killed ten people and injured ten others in a mass shooting during a Lunar New Year festival celebration at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California.

While a potential motive behind the shooting has not been disclosed, Monterey authorities revealed that Huu Can Tran is believed to have acted alone in the mass shooting.

Per The New York Post, in the aftermath of the shooting, Monterey authorities reported Huu Can Tran to have fled the scene and believed him to be armed and dangerous. Around 17 minutes after the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, he was believed to have carried out another shooting at the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra. However, no one was injured in the latter incident.

After a brief manhunt and standoff with the police, Huu Can Tran was discovered dead in a van in Torrance after suffering what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

An immigrant of Vietnamese origin, who had arrived from China in the early 90's, Huu Can Tran had been a regular patron at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, as per The Independent, where the first shooting took place.


Huu Can Tran was a regular at Star Ballroom and had no history of violence

As per reports, Huu Can Tran began frequenting the Star Ballroom Dance Studio approximately two decades ago, after immigrating to California. The dance studio, which opened in 1990, was a popular venue for middle-aged as well as older Asians and Asian-Americans to socialize. Reportedly, it was at this establishment that Tran met his former wife.

Speaking to CNN, Tran's former wife, who chose to remain anonymous, mentioned that the suspect had provided informal dance lessons at the Star Ballroom. Shocked by the suspect's actions, she revealed that Tran had no substantial history of violence. She did acknowledge, however, that he was easily angered.

In an interview with ABC, Chester Chong, an official with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, speculated that the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute, as it is believed Tran's former wife was attending a Lunar New Year celebration at the dance hall when the killings took place.

An anonymous witness at the scene told CBS:

"He found his wife there. . . He started to shooting everybody... when they dance."

Chong explained that it is common for members of the close-knit Chinese community to get angry if they are not invited to local events. Despite this, Monterey Authorities have not corroborated Chong's theory, and the precise nature of the suspect's motivations remain unknown.

As a result of the shooting, the second day of the Lunar New Year Festival was canceled. Police released an official statement, noting:

“As a precaution and for the safety of everyone, the City regrets to announce the cancellation of the second day of the festival, which was scheduled for today, Sunday, January 22."

The case is currently under investigation.

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Edited by Susrita Das