January 22, 2023 Monterey Park mass shooting news

By Aditi Sangal, Matt Meyer, Maureen Chowdhury, Veronica Rocha, Seán Federico O'Murchú and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 23, 2023
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10:10 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023

It is only the 22nd day of the year and there have already been at least 36 mass shootings in the United States so far, according to the nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive.

This means there have been more mass shootings this year than there have been days in 2023.

CNN and the GVA define a mass shooting as a shooting that injured or killed four or more people, not including the shooter.

9:42 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

Gunman had been a regular patron at dance hall he attacked, according to people who knew him

From CNN’s Jeff Winter, Casey Tolan and Scott Glover

The man who fatally shot 10 people in a Southern California dance studio had once been a regular presence at the studio, even meeting his ex-wife there, three people who knew him told CNN.

Police say Huu Can Tran, 72, opened fire at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park, on Saturday night, before fatally shooting himself after a manhunt across the region on Sunday.

His ex-wife said in an interview that she had met Tran about two decades ago at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, a popular community gathering place where he gave informal lessons. Tran saw her at a dance, introduced himself, and offered her free lessons, she said.

The two married soon after they met, according to the ex-wife, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the case. While Tran was never violent to her, she said he could be quick to anger. For example, she said, if she missed a step dancing he would become upset because he felt it made him look bad. She said that after several years together, she got the impression that he had lost interest in her. Her sister, who also asked not to be named, confirmed her account. 

It was unclear how frequently Tran visited the dance hall, if at all, in recent years.

Tran filed for divorce in late 2005, and a judge approved the divorce the following year, Los Angeles court records show. 

Tran was an immigrant from China, according to a copy of his marriage license that his ex-wife showed to CNN.

A 5-minute drive from his home: Another long-time acquaintance of Tran’s also remembered him as a frequent presence at the dance studio. The friend, who also asked not to be named, was close to Tran in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, when he said Tran would make the roughly 5-minute drive from his home in San Gabriel to Star Ballroom Dance Studio “almost every night.”

Tran often complained at the time that the instructors at the dance hall didn’t like him and said “evil things about him,” the friend remembered, adding that Tran was “hostile to a lot of people there.”

More generally, Tran was easily irritated, complained a lot, and didn’t seem to trust people, the friend said.

 Tran at times worked as a truck driver, according to his ex-wife. 

Business records show that Tran registered a business called Tran’s Trucking Inc. in California in 2002. But he dissolved the business about two years later, writing in a corporate filing that the company had never acquired any known assets or incurred any known debts or liabilities.

Bought a mobile home in Hemet: In 2013, Tran sold his San Gabriel home, which he had owned for more than two decades, property records show. 

Seven years later, records show, Tran bought a mobile home in a senior citizens community in Hemet, California, an outlying suburb about 85 miles east of Los Angeles. 

Tran’s friend said he hadn’t seen Tran in several years and was “totally shocked” when he heard about the shooting. 

“I know lots of people, and if they go to Star Studio, they frequent there,” the friend said, adding that he was “worried maybe I know some of” the shooting victims.

9:24 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

Coroner's office working to identify victims of Monterey Park mass shooting

From CNN’s Chris Boyette

Authorities are working to identify the victims of the shooting in Monterey Park, California, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

"Please keep in mind that especially with the deceased victims, the coroner's office retrieved the remains not that long ago. So, they're still in the process of identifying,” Luna told reporters Sunday. “There's a lot of work that still needs to be done to answer a lot of questions that all of us have."

Luna said that because the victims haven’t all been identified, he couldn’t say their exact ages, but gave a range.

“I don't have the specific ages because they have not been identified. But they're not in their 20s or 30s. They seem to be probably, I would say, in their 50s, 60s, and maybe some even beyond that,” Luna said.

9:42 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

Monterey Park's US representative: "We are resilient, and we are stronger together"

From CNN's Aaron Pellish

Judy Chu speaks during a press conference about the shooting in Monterey Park, California on Sunday.
Judy Chu speaks during a press conference about the shooting in Monterey Park, California on Sunday. (KCAL/KCBS)

Rep. Judy Chu, who represents Monterey Park praised local law enforcement and thanked those who reached out to her to offer support, including the White House and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Chu spoke at a news conference on Sunday evening after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed a man found dead after a police standoff in Torrance was the same person suspected of carrying out a mass shooting in Monterey Park late Saturday. Chu thanked local law enforcement officials for their efforts in tracking the suspect.

“All this afternoon, the community was in fear,” Chu said.

Chu said she received calls from Mayorkas and from the White House, although she did not specify whether she spoke with President Biden. Chu also said she spoke with Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

“I got calls today from the White House, from the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and from our mayor, Karen Bass,” Chu said. “All expressed concerns and offered their resources to us to make sure that we could end this terrible situation.”

Chu said the residents of Monterey Park, where she has lived for 37 years, are resilient and implored the community to “feel safe.”

“What I saw today, and what I see at this moment is indeed we are resilient, and we are stronger together,” Chu said.

9:06 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

Sources: Shooting suspect may have sought medical treatment shortly before his capture

From CNN's John Miller

Law enforcement sources tell CNN that the suspect in the Monterey Park shooting may have sought medical treatment shortly before his capture.

Police received a tip Sunday from an area hospital where a man fitting the description of the suspect came into the emergency room seeking treatment for injuries consistent with having been in a fight.

The man waited for a period of time and then left the hospital without receiving treatment. The hospital notified authorities when they saw the similarity to the wanted person depicted in photos on the sheriff's department's Twitter account.

A short time later, police in Torrance pulled over a white cargo van, where the Monterey Park shooting suspect was eventually found dead following a standoff.

10:05 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

First officers on the scene found chaos and carnage, Monterey Park police chief says

This image taken with a drone shows Star Ballroom Dance Studio after the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California on Sunday.
This image taken with a drone shows Star Ballroom Dance Studio after the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California on Sunday. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

The scene was chaotic with people trying to escape and others wounded as police officers arrived at the scene of the mass shooting Saturday night in Monterey Park, California, according to Scott Wiese, chief of the Monterey Park Police Department.

Officers got to the scene "less than 3 minutes" from when the first call was made, he said.

"The first officers on scene were some of my youngest officers. They'd only been on the street for a very short period of time," Wiese said during a news conference Sunday.

He continued:

"When they came into the parking lot, it was chaos. There were wounded people, there were people trying to flee out all of the doors. They immediately went into action and within just a couple of minutes, those officers had entered the location looking for the suspect. That is our protocol here. We do not wait. 
"Inside, they came across a scene that none of them had been prepared for. There were injured people inside. There were dead people inside. And my young officers did their job and searched for a suspect and then came back and had to deal with the carnage that was inside. And it was extensive.
"That's one of the reasons I need to make sure that they are OK."
9:04 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

Biden orders White House flags to be lowered to half-staff following Monterey Park shooting

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation Sunday honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, ordering flags to fly at half-staff at the White House and other federal buildings until sunset on Thursday.

  Biden said in the proclamation:

“As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on January 21, 2023, in Monterey Park, California, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 26, 2023."
9:02 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

Sheriff says weapon seized from gunman at 2nd location is "assault handgun" that may be illegal in California

From CNN's John Miller and Matt Meyer

The gun wrestled away from the suspected Monterey Park shooter at a second location Saturday night is a Cobray M11 9mm semi-automatic, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case.

At a news conference Sunday evening, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna described the gun as a "magazine-fed, semiautomatic assault pistol" with an extended, large-capacity magazine.

This style of firearm is designed to take 30-round magazines that allow for rapid fire without having to frequently change magazines.

In response to a reporter's question, Luna said: "I believe the weapon ... is not legal to have here in the state of California."

The sheriff added that he still needed to consult the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for further details on the weapon's legality.

CNN's law enforcement source said the weapon helped lead investigators to the suspect.

They seized the weapon at a dance studio in Alhambra, California, where officials say the suspect from the Monterey Park shooting arrived within 20 to 30 minutes of the massacre. He was confronted by a group of people who disarmed him.

Detectives traced the gun and were able to obtain the suspect's name and description, the law enforcement source said. He was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a standoff with police in Torrance, California.

Luna did not say whether authorities had confirmed that the "assault pistol" was the weapon used in the Monterey Park shooting.

8:52 p.m. ET, January 22, 2023

"They saved lives": Police chief praises heroes who disarmed suspect at a second location

The suspect in the Monterey Park mass shooting was disarmed by two people when he went to a second location on Saturday night, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

Luna had earlier disclosed that a male Asian suspect had walked into a dance hall in Alhambra and that "some individuals wrestled the firearm away from him."

"Remember, the suspect went to the Alhambra location after he conducted the shooting (in Monterey Park), and he was disarmed by two community members who I consider to be heroes," Luna said at a news conference Sunday. 

"They saved lives. This could've been much worse. The weapon that we recovered at that second scene I am describing as a magazine-fed semiautomatic assault pistol. Not an assault rifle, but an assault pistol that had an extended large capacity magazine attached to it," he added.