A temporary memorial at Monterey City Hall in Monterey Park, Calif., on Sunday. Photo for The Washington Post by Philip Cheung

Investigators are delving into the history of the shooter who killed 11 people inside a dance hall in Monterey Park, a Los Angeles suburb, as details about the victims begin to emerge.

The 11th victim of Saturday’s shooting died at a hospital Monday, according to a spokeswoman for LAC+USC Medical Center. The person’s age, gender and name were not immediately available.

On Monday, the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner identified two women who were killed: My Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63. The office said the rest of the first 10 people killed in the shooting were in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

In the aftermath of the shooting, which left at least 10 others injured, the motive of the shooter, Huu Can Tran, remained unclear, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said. Tran, 72, fatally shot himself as law enforcement officers closed in on him after a manhunt, authorities said.

Six wounded victims remained hospitalized late Sunday. Of the three at LAC+USC, spokeswoman Connie Castro said Monday that one was in “serious condition” and two others were “recovering.” The conditions of the other three injured victims were unclear Monday afternoon.

A Monterey Park police officer stands guard near the scene of the shooting on Sunday. Photo for The Washington Post by Philip Cheung

There are “no outstanding suspects” in the shooting, Luna said. Authorities were serving search warrants Sunday night. On Sunday evening, Luna said law enforcement officers recovered a semiautomatic pistol with an “extended large capacity magazine attached to it” that he believes is illegal in California.


Monterey Park, Calif., is known for being a “safe and quiet place to live,” said Democratic Rep. Judy Chu, whose district includes the city where she served three terms as mayor. “We think of it as the place to raise our children and to live high-quality lives.”

Monterey Park gained attention for being the first “Asian ethnoburb,” a suburban enclave that is majority-minority, with Asian Americans making up 65% of its population. But the shooting on the eve of Lunar New Year, an important holiday for many Asian cultures, shattered the idyllic calm in Monterey Park, a city of about 61,000 just east of downtown Los Angeles, according to census figures.

In the wake of the shooting, several Asian American public figures took to social media to speak out on a tragedy that has rattled spirits amid Lunar New Year celebrations.

“We begin the New Year with great sadness,” Min Jin Lee, a Korean American author best known for her novel “Pachinko,” tweeted on Sunday night. She addressed revelations that the shooting suspect – who died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds – was an Asian male, stating that intra-racial violence “is still violence.”

California Shooting

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., left, addresses the media with Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, right, outside the Civic Center in Monterey Park, Calif., on Sunday. Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Comedian Jenny Yang condemned the gunman on Twitter, stating that he attacked “our joy on one of the most celebratory holidays of our community.”

“An attack on Monterey Park is like attacking the HQ of my community,” she said. “It’s been the hub of culture and life for so many Taiwanese/Chinese immigrants like me. I am sick to my stomach.”


On the night of the shooting, actor Simu Liu, star of the film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” tweeted that Monterey Park is the “home of Asian American families, parents, grandparents, siblings, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, all of whom were looking forward to celebrating the New Year this weekend.”

“I am shocked, saddened, angered and heartbroken for the families,” he added.

Minutes after the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, Tran walked into the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in the neighboring city of Alhambra with a gun before two people wrestled the weapon from him, authorities said. No one was hurt.

“The suspect walked in there, probably with the intent to kill more people. And two brave community members decided they were going to jump into action and disarm him,” Luna said, calling the people who intervened “heroes.”

“This could have been much worse,” he added.

Tran immigrated to the United States from China, according to CNN, which interviewed his ex-wife and said it saw a copy of their marriage license.


Tran and his ex-wife met about 20 years ago at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, the site of Saturday’s shooting, she told CNN. She said Tran used to give lessons there, though he also worked as a truck driver.

Tran lived in a gated retirement community in the San Jacinto Valley called the Lakes at Hemet West, more than 80 miles east of downtown Monterey Park, according to CNN and the Los Angeles Times.

California Shooting

An investigator carries markers outside Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif., on Sunday. Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The shooting has renewed calls for changes to gun-control laws, in what has become an emblematic response to an ongoing spate of mass shootings in the United States.

“California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but yet, look at what we just had today,” Luna said during a news conference Sunday evening. “Let’s look across our nation, see what works and what doesn’t. I can tell you this: The status quo is not working.”

Officials investigating the shooting recovered two weapons, a handgun and an assault pistol with an “extended large-capacity magazine attached to it,” Luna said. The pistol, he added, might not be “legal to have here in the state of California.”
After a visit to Monterey Park, California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted Sunday that “no other country in the world is terrorized by this constant stream of gun violence.”
“We need real gun reform at a national level,” he said.

Chu said she consistently has supported gun reform at a national level, but with the nation’s latest high-profile mass killing impacting her own community, “I feel even more strongly about pushing for these important gun safety bills.”


She added: “I feel the horror of every mass gun shooting. Every time. But this does bring it home to me.”

Violence is “very uncommon” in Monterey Park, especially on the scale of the shooting this weekend, Chu said in a phone interview Sunday. For the immigrants who sought a better life for themselves and their families, “I don’t think [they] could ever imagine that there would be such a proliferation of guns as they are here,” she said.

The shooting happened at one of the area’s dance halls, popular gathering places, especially for Chinese immigrants, Chu said.

“Our immigrants live a hard life. They work very hard at their business, they raise their families,” she said. Learning to dance “is a way for them to let off steam, have communication with friends, and dance with others.”

She added: “I can say from my 37 years living here that this is a resilient community, and it is a community that is stronger when it comes together.”

The massacre in Monterey Park, Calif., is the fifth mass killing to take place this year in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Including the 10 people pronounced dead at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, 31 people had died as victims in mass killings in 2023 as of Saturday night, according to its database. The known ages of this year’s victims so far range from 4 to 78 years old.

By the equivalent date in 2022, Jan. 21, no mass killing had been recorded in the United States yet that year. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 2022’s first mass killing took place on Jan. 23 in Milwaukee.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: