January 23, 2023 Monterey Park mass shooting news

By Nectar Gan, Leinz Vales, Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 4:05 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023
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7:18 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

Sheriff thanks "hero" for singlehandedly disarming gunman in Alhambra dance studio

Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna thanked Brandon Tsay for disarming a gunman who entered the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, California, following a mass shooting in Monterey Park Saturday night.

Luna also clarified that Tsay was the only person that was involved in disarming the gunman. Initially, authorities said that two people were involved.

"I'd like to take a second to also thank Mr. Brandon Tsay, for his heroic action which save countless lives. He's the hero, that disarmed the suspect at the Alhambra location. And in my opinion, he saved many of lives," Luna said during a news conference Monday.

He added, "There was actually only one person who disarmed. But as you know we were trying to put out information that was preliminary. So there was one, that's his name. And what a brave man he is."

6:29 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

Sheriff: Gunman was arrested in 1990 for unlawful possession of firearm

The man accused of killing 11 people at a Monterey Park dance studio had a "limited criminal history," according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

The sheriff said Monday the gunman was arrested in 1990 for unlawful possession of a firearm.

7:20 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

Sheriff: 42 rounds fired at Monterey Park dance studio mass shooting scene from a high-capacity gun

The Monterey Park mass shooting gunman fired 42 rounds of ammunition from a high-capacity handgun at the dance hall in Monterey Park where 11 people were killed, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference Monday.

Luna also noted that a 9 mm caliber semi-automatic MAC-10 assault weapon was recovered at the Alhambra dance studio, where the suspect was disarmed after he showed up after the shooting in Monterey Park.

6:52 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

Monterey Park gunman was manufacturing homemade firearm suppressors, sheriff says

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said investigators found a "few items of interest" at the shooter's mobile home — some of which led officials to believe he was "manufacturing homemade firearm suppressors." The items were gathered from a search warrant that was executed earlier Monday.

Some of the other items recovered were a 308-caliber rifle and various electronic devices — such as cell phones and computers, Luna said at a news conference Monday.

Officials also found "hundreds of rounds" of ammunition, the sheriff said.

Ballistic and forensic comparisons will need to be done on all of the items that were recovered from the alleged shooter's home, Luna said.

He said there is "a lot of work to be done there, but we don't want to leave any stone unturned."

Luna said homicide investigators are still working on what he called a “very complex investigation.” The sheriff said there is still a lot of things they don’t know.

Luna said his office is working in partnership with the FBI, ATF and the district attorney's office, among others.

6:07 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

Law enforcement officials give update on Monterey Park shooting investigation

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna is providing an update on the investigation into Saturday's mass shooting in Monterey Park, California. Other elected officials are also expected to be there.

Luna will provide information gathered from a search warrant that was executed earlier Monday, Monterey Park police chief Scott Wiese said at a separate news conference Monday. The warrant was for the suspected shooter's mobile home in a senior community in Hemet, California, according to the Hemet Police Department.

The 72-year-old gunman was found dead Sunday with a self-inflicted gunshot wound after officers approached his vehicle, police said.

Questions: There are still many details that are unclear about the massacre, including:

  • The motive: Since the gunman took his own life, this will be more difficult. But details have emerged, including from three people who knew him and told CNN he had once been a familiar face at the dance studio where the shooting happened. One person who identified himself as a former friend of the alleged shooter said he often complained that the instructors at the dance hall didn’t like him and said “evil things about him,” the friend recalled. On Sunday, Luna told reporters investigators were looking into the suspected shooter's criminal and mental health history and serving search warrants. And police in Hemet, California, where he lived said the gunman visited the police station twice earlier this month with a series of allegations about fraud, theft, and poisoning allegations involving his family.
  • How was the gun obtained? The weapon recovered from the Alhambra location – where the gunman was disarmed and fled – was a magazine-fed semi-automatic assault pistol that had an extended large capacity magazine attached to it, the sheriff said Sunday. The weapon was traced to the suspect, giving authorities his name and description.

6:02 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

2 more shooting victims have been identified

From CNN's Stella Chan 

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office named two more victims of the mass shooting Saturday night in Monterey Park. 

Xiujuan Yu, a 57-year-old woman, and Valentino Alvero, a 68-year-old man, were killed in the shooting, the office said.  

Four of the 11 victims have been named so far: Mymy Nhan, a 65-year-old woman, and Lilan Li, a 63-year-old woman were identified earlier Monday.

Officials have not yet released the names of the other three women and four men killed in the attack, but they have provided general age ranges. Of those not identified yet, three were in their 60s and four were in their 70s.

5:07 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

US has had more mass shootings in 2023 than at this point in any year on record

There have been 36 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2023. That's more than there have been at this point in any year on record.

The shooting in Monterey Park, California, that killed 11 people Saturday was the deadliest attack since the Uvalde massacre in May 2022.

How this stacks up globally: Regular mass shootings are a uniquely American phenomenon. The US is the only developed country where mass shootings have happened every single year for the past 20 years, according to Jason R. Silva, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at William Paterson University.

The US has the highest firearm homicide rate in the developed world — about 4 per 100,000 people. That’s 18 times the average rate in other developed countries. 

5:04 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

Timeline: How the Monterey Park mass shooting and manhunt unfolded

From CNN's Christina Zdanowicz

The mass shooting at a Monterey Park, California, dance studio Saturday night set off a 12-hour manhunt for the gunman who carried out the attack that left 11 people dead and almost as many injured.

Authorities were able to track him down by tracing the semi-automatic weapon he was holding, which yielded his name and description.

This is what we know about how the shooting and manhunt unfolded:

  • Late night Saturday: A manhunt ensues: A description of a white van seen leaving the Alhambra dance studio — visited by the gunman after the Monterey Park shooting – is broadcast to area law enforcement agencies. This sparks a manhunt across the region.
  • 8:35 a.m. PT Sunday: Police release a description of the suspect: The suspected gunman is still at large, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said. The person who fled the scene is preliminarily described as “a male Asian,” he said, adding there were different descriptions from witnesses and victims.
  • 10:20 a.m. PT Sunday: The white van is found: Torrance police officers find the white van matching the description near Hawthorne and Sepulveda Boulevards in Torrance, according to Luna. When officers drove behind the vehicle, it entered a shopping center parking lot. When officers exit their vehicle, they hear one gunshot. The officers retreat and call for backup. Armored vehicles arrive and block the van from moving.
  • 11:21 a.m. PT: Authorities share photos of the suspect: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department releases photos of the suspect in the mass shooting. Luna tweets photos of the man, saying investigators have identified him as a homicide suspect who should be considered “armed and dangerous.”
  • 12:52 p.m. PT: The suspect is dead: A SWAT team clears the area and finds the suspect had shot himself inside the white van, according to Luna. The suspect is pronounced dead at the scene. Several pieces of evidence are found in the van linking the suspect to Monterey Park and Alhambra. A handgun was also found in the van.
  • 5:21 p.m. PT: Police name the suspect: Luna says investigators have confirmed the man found dead in the white van after the standoff is the same person suspected of carrying out the mass shooting in Monterey Park. The suspect is identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, according to Luna.

CNN’s Dakin Andone, Elizabeth Wolfe, Holly Yan, Chris Boyette, Seán Federico-O’Murchú, Nouran Salahieh, Jeffrey Winter, Casey Tolan, Scott Glover and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.

4:52 p.m. ET, January 23, 2023

Monterey Park council member says shooting was "tragedy piled on tragedy" for Asian American community

What started as Monterey Park’s largest event of the year, ended in tragedy after a gunman killed 11 people at a dance studio just hours after the city’s Lunar New Year festival — something Monterey Park City Council Member Thomas Wong said is compounded by a rise of Asian hate across the country.

Lunar New Year is a large, popular holiday for many Asian cultures around the world, Wong said, including in Monterey Park where there is a large Asian American community. About 65% of residents are of Asian descent and some 100,000 people from across Southern California typically turn out for Lunar New Year celebrations.

This was the first year the city’s celebration was in person since the pandemic began in 2020.

“I was excited to get back together in person to celebrate community, to bring families together, but instead we’re dealing with this tragedy and trying to get through this together,” Wong told CNN Monday.

He described the shooting Saturday as “tragedy piled on tragedy.”

“We’ve been on edge the last few years as Covid rose and impacted our communities, and the rise of Asian hate in our communities as well, and to deal with this on top of that — for our local community — has just been tremendously tragic,” he said.

Despite hardships, Wong said he has seen communities come together to support each other with “neighbors checking in on neighbors, family checking in on family,” he said.

“The outpouring of support has been encouraging in this time of tragedy,” Wong said.

Police are still investigating the motive of the shooting. Wong said he hopes to have more answers soon to work on trying to prevent it from happening again.