Shooter behind a deadly shooting at a dance hall in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park The mayor of a California city said Monday that his ex-wife may have been targeted on the Lunar New Year.
The revelation came as the death toll from Saturday’s shooting rose to 11, with at least nine wounded still being treated for their injuries, officials said.
Huu Can Tran, the 72-year-old suspected shooter, apparently thought his ex-wife was at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio when he burst in. and opened fire into the celebratory crowd, police said.
“My understanding is that maybe he came because his ex-wife was having fun, celebrating the Lunar New Year, and it sounded like there was a history of domestic violence, which is unfortunate,” Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo told Kate NBC News. Snow.
Tran filed for divorce in 2005 in Los Angeles County, records show. NBC News has reached out to a person believed to be the shooter’s ex-wife for comment.
Police on Monday continued to search the suspect’s home in Hemet, a small town about 85 miles (135 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, and did not release a motive.
Alan Reyes, public information officer for the Hemet Police Department, said their records show Tran contacted them a decade ago claiming his family was trying to poison him. That allegation was never investigated because Tran never presented any evidence to support his claims, he said.
Tran died about 12 hours after the massacre from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a white van when a SWAT team approached him, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Sunday.
“The unimaginable happened in our community last night,” Lo said in a statement Sunday, calling the fatal shooting “a terrible tragedy.”
Meanwhile, as the predominantly Asian community braced for a wave of funerals, the Los Angeles coroner’s office released the names of two victims: My Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63. It was not immediately clear if they knew the shooter.
A vigil will be held Tuesday in Monterey Park to remember the dead.
“We believe it is important for our community to come together to remember and heal,” Lo said in an official statement.
Shortly after, the Los Angeles County Department of Health announced that one of the four patients treated at LAC+USC Medical Center “succumbed to his extensive injuries.”
DHS has not identified the victim.
At 72, Tran did not fit the age profile of a mass shooter. The median age over the past six decades is 32, according to data compiled by the company The Violence Projectwhich is a nonprofit research center funded by the National Institute of Justice.
About 30 minutes after Tran opened fire at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, he showed up at another dance studio in the nearby city of Alhambra, police said. There, Tran was stripped of what police described as a “semi-automatic assault pistol,” before he could hurt someone, a member of the family that runs the venue.
“When he was looking around the room, it looked like he was looking for targets, people to hurt,” Brandon Tsay, 26, said of the shooter. in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday.
Tran managed to get away, police said. And about a dozen hours after the Monterey Park carnage, police tracked Tran’s white van to a parking lot 30 miles away in suburban Torrance, where the suspect killed himself.
Several pieces of evidence linking Tran to the massacre were found inside the van, Luna said. A pistol was also found in the van, he added.
Police soon raised the possibility that the massacre may have been a hate crime.
“We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime as defined by the law, but who walks into a ballroom and shoots 20 people?” Luna said earlier Sunday. “The description we have now is of an Asian male. Does that matter? I don’t know. I can tell you everything is on the table.”
A resource center has been established at the Langley Senior Center in Monterey Park, he said, adding that mental health resources are available for “anyone who needs support.”
Families and friends gathered at the center for most of Sunday, waiting to hear news of loved ones they feared might be among those killed or injured.
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with her, but I haven’t heard back,” Monterey Park resident Vivian King said of the friend she last heard from over the weekend.
“It’s hard not knowing what’s going on,” said Juan Pablo Pinzon, a tourist from Colombia who said his cousin was out with friends in the area Saturday night and did not respond to texts or calls. “I hope we hear something soon.