Monterey Park shooter didn’t know victims; motive remains unknown
Investigators are stumped on what drove the Monterey Park mass shooter to storm into a Southern California ballroom and indiscriminately spray bullets into a crowd of people on what was supposed to be a joyous night celebrating Lunar New Year.
The 72-year-old gunman, Huu Can Tran, didn’t know any of his victims and hadn’t been to the dance hall, Star Ballroom Dance Studio, for years, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said.
“We have not been able to establish a connection between the suspect and any of the victims thus far,” the sheriff said during a press conference Wednesday.
Tran lived more than 85 miles away from Monterey Park, a city outside Los Angeles with a predominantly Asian American population.
Days after he made the trip to the Monterey Park ballroom and killed 11 people inside, investigators are still searching for a motive.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Luna said. “It really doesn’t.”
Earlier reports said that Tran had frequented Star Ballroom Dance Studio and believed dance instructors there had said “evil things about him” and that he had been looking for his wife when he fired off 42 shots into the crowd.
But Luna said the killer hadn’t been to the ballroom in five or more years and didn’t appear to choose specific victims to target.
Investigators also don’t know how long he had been planning the massacre, though they discovered additional weapons and a stockpile of ammo during a search of his home.
They also recovered computers, phones and paperwork from his home, but have yet to find any indication of a motive after combing through the materials.
Tran used a variant of the MAC-10 semi-automatic machine pistol with a 30-round magazine that he had purchased in 1999 to gun down his victims.
About 20 minutes after the bloodbath, he marched into a second dance hall about 3.5 miles away in Alhambra with the intent to kill more people, officials said.
However, a brave employee confronted him and snatched away the powerful gun — which is illegal in California — before anyone else was harmed.
Tran, who was originally from Vietnam, shot and killed himself inside a van the morning after the massacre.
With Post wires
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