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California mass shooter dead, motive unclear

24 January 2023


AFP :

The gunman believed to have killed 10 people during Lunar New Year celebrations in California shot himself dead as police moved in to arrest him, the local sheriff said Sunday.
An intensive manhunt began late Saturday after a man opened fire inside a dance studio and club in Monterey Park, a city near Los Angeles with a large Asian community.
Witnesses said he had shot indiscriminately, and appeared to have a lot of ammunition.
Five men and five women were killed, most in their 50s or 60s, police said, with around 10 others injured. The suspected gunman, identified by police as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, then went to another dance venue a short distance away but was tackled and disarmed by people at the club before fleeing.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said over the following hours police tracked a wanted van, which was later reported in Torrance, several miles (kilometers) south.
When officers approached, they heard one gunshot from within.
"The suspect sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene," Luna said.
"I can confirm that there are no outstanding suspects from the mass shooting incident."
Luna said the reason behind the horrific attack, which came as Asian communities around the world celebrated Lunar New Year, the most important holiday of the calendar, remained a mystery.
"The investigation is still ongoing. Sheriff's homicide detectives are working around the clock gathering additional information and working on determining the motive behind this extremely tragic event," he said
Luna paid tribute to two people at the site of the second attempted attack.
"I can tell you that 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."
"They took possession of the weapon, and the suspect ran away."
The weapon used was not an assault rifle, Luna said, but "a magazine-fed semi automatic assault pistol... that had an extended large capacity magazine attached to it."
Monterey Park, only a few miles from downtown Los Angeles, is home to around 60,000 people, the majority of them Asian or Asian American.
"We don't know if this is specifically a hate crime defined by law," Luna said earlier, "but who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people?"
Sheriff's deputies in Monterey Park remained at the scene Sunday, an AFP reporter said, with decorations erected for the Lunar New Year hanging incongruously by the police tape.
A banner above the street read "Happy Year of the Rabbit."
The Los Angeles Times reported that Seung Won Choi, who owns a nearby restaurant, said three people had run into the establishment and told him to lock the door.
The three told Choi there was a man with a semiautomatic gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition and repeatedly reloaded.

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