The mayor of the California city where suspected shooter Huu Can Tran killed 10 during a mass shooting at a ballroom dance club during Lunar New Year celebrations said Monday that the gunman “may have had a history of visiting this dance hall and perhaps the motivation has to do with some personal relationships.”
Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo spoke to NBC’s “Today” Show less than 48 hours after Tran, police say, opened fire at Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Saturday night, killing five women, five men and wounding 10 others. Tran was found dead on Sunday in Torrance of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a white van which authorities say he used to flee the scene.
“Right now we are still trying to determine the motive behind the shooting, we do understand that he may have had a history of visiting this dance hall and perhaps the motivation has to do with some personal relationships, but that is something investigators are still uncovering and investigating,” Lo said. “We will probably find out more in the proceeding hours ahead, or even days ahead.”
Tran was carrying what Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna described as a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine, and a second handgun was discovered in the van where Tran died.
About 20 to 30 minutes after the first attack, Tran entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in the nearby city of Alhambra. But, Luna said, two people wrestled the semi-automatic weapon away from him.
“We are still also awaiting for the investigation to yield answers as to how this illegal weapon was obtained,” Lo also told NBC on Monday, noting that he hasn’t had a chance yet to speak to the victims as police have not released the names of them yet.
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Speaking at a Sunday evening news conference, Luna said he didn’t have their exact ages but that all of the people killed appeared to be over 50.
The Star Ballroom Dance Studio’s website said it was hosting an event Saturday called “Star Night” from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The studio is a few blocks from city hall on Monterey Park’s main thoroughfare of Garvey Avenue, which is dotted with strip malls of small businesses whose signs are in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated and Chinese films are screened regularly in the city.
Fox News’ Landon Mion and the Associated Press contributed to this report.