Suspect in US dance club shooting dead


The suspect in a California dance club shooting that killed 10 people has been found dead, authorities say.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the man shot himself on Sunday as police officers closed in on the van he used to flee the scene of an attempted second shooting.

Luna identified the suspect at 72-year-old Huu Can Tran. He said no other suspects were at large.

Police surrounded the van with tactical vehicles and bomb squad trucks for hours before going in.

Luna previously released photos of an Asian man who was believed to be the suspect, but he did not release the man’s name.

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The manhunt came after a gunman killed 10 people at a ballroom dance studio late on Saturday amid Lunar New Year celebrations in the predominantly Asian American community of Monterey Park.

He likely tried and failed to target a second dance hall, authorities said.

The van was found in Torrance, another community home to many Asian Americans, about 30 kilometres from that second location.

The shooting sent a wave of fear through Asian American communities in the Los Angeles area and cast a shadow over Lunar New Year festivities around the country. Other cities sent extra officers to watch over the celebrations.

Luna said the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park left five women and five men dead and wounded another 10 people.

Then about 30 minutes later, a man with a gun entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra.

The suspect entered the Alhambra club with a gun, and people wrested the weapon away from him before he fled, Luna said.

Authorities believe the two events are connected. They offered no details about a possible motive.

Hours earlier, Luna said authorities were looking for a white van after witnesses reported seeing the suspect flee from Alhambra in such a vehicle.

Members of a SWAT team entered the van a short time later.

The massacre was the nation’s fifth mass killing this month. It was also the deadliest attack since May 24, when 21 people were killed in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people on the eastern edge of Los Angeles and is composed mostly of Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans.

The shooting happened downtown where red lanterns decorated the streets for the Lunar New Year festivities. A police car was parked near a large banner that proclaimed “Happy Year of the Rabbit!”

The celebration in Monterey Park is one of California’s largest. Two days of festivities, which have been attended by as many as 100,000 people in past years, were planned. But officials cancelled Sunday’s events following the shooting.

Chester Chong, chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, described Monterey Park as a quiet, peaceful, beautiful city where everybody knew each other and helped each other.

“People were calling me last night, they were scared this was a hate crime,” Chong said.

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