January 23, 2023 Monterey Park mass shooting news

Brandon Tsay encountered the suspect at the Alhambra dance hall.
Man who wrested gun away from shooting suspect speaks out
01:39 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • At least 11 people were killed in a mass shooting Saturday at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, as the city’s Asian American community was celebrating Lunar New Year weekend.
  • Police are still investigating the gunman’s motive. They disclosed Monday that“hundreds of rounds” of ammunition as well as homemade “firearm suppressors” were found in his home.
  • Shortly after the attack, he was disarmed when he showed up at a second studio in nearby Alhambra – and officials hailed the man who wrestled away his firearm as a hero.
  • Here’s how you can help the victims of the shooting.
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Our live coverage of the Monterey Park mass shooting has ended. Read the latest updates here.

2 Taiwanese Americans among the dead in Monterey Park mass shooting, officials say

Two Taiwanese Americans were among the victims of the deadly Monterey Park mass shooting, according to Taiwan’s de facto diplomatic representative in Los Angeles, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO).

The office said it is aiding family members of one victim who live in Taiwan and plan to come to Los Angeles as soon as possible.

The victims: As of Monday night, four of the 11 victims killed have been named by authorities: Xiujuan Yu, 57, Mymy Nhan, 65, Lilan Li, 63, and Valentino Alvero, 68.

Monterey Park mayor says community now on a "long road of recovery" after mass shooting

Monterey Park is setting forth on the “long road of recovery” to heal after Saturday night’s deadly mass shooting, Mayor Henry Lo said Monday night.

Speaking to CNN’s Laura Coates, Lo said the community is in “disbelief and shock” and people “are feeling very numb.”

Monterey Park will hold a vigil for the victims on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET) and a crisis center is open in the city for anyone who needs services, Lo added.  

He also shared condolences to those in Northern California’s Half Moon Bay after a suspected gunman killed seven people in two shootings there on Monday. 

Monterey Park victim Valentino Alvero was a US citizen of Filipino descent, consulate says

Monterey Park victim Valentino Alvero was a United States citizen of Filipino descent, the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles said in a statement Monday that expressed “shock and great sadness” over the mass shooting that claimed 11 lives.

Alvero, 68, was earlier identified as one of the victims by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.

The Philippine consulate said it is ready to assist Alvero’s family should they reach out for any help. 

“Our prayers go out to the families of the victims and we mourn with them during this lunar new year festival, which is supposed to be a time of gathering and celebration,” the statement said.

The consulate also called on the community to “exercise all caution and continue being vigilant during these uncertain times.”

The victims: As of Monday night, four of the 11 victims have been named by authorities. They include three women: Xiujuan Yu, 57, Mymy Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63.

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.

Authorities say at least 7 people were killed after shootings in Northern California on Monday

At least seven people are dead and one person is critically injured after shootings in two locations in Half Moon Bay, California on Monday night, according to authorities.

Dave Pine, San Mateo Board of Supervisors president, told CNN the suspect has been apprehended and is a 67-year-old man who lives in Half Moon Bay.

One shooting took place at a mushroom farm and another near a trucking facility, approximately 2 miles from the farm.

Deputies found four victims dead and one wounded upon arrival at the first location, and soon after, three more dead victims were found at a separate site, San Mateo Sheriff Christina Corpus said at a news briefing.

This incident comes just two days after at least 11 people were killed in the mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he was meeting with victims of the mass shooting in Monterey Park when he was pulled away to be briefed on the shooting in Half Moon Bay. 

“At the hospital meeting with victims of a mass shooting when I get pulled away to be briefed about another shooting. This time in Half Moon Bay. Tragedy upon tragedy,” Newsom said in a tweet.

There have now been 38 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2023, according to the nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive — more than there have been at this point in any year on record. 

Read CNN’s live coverage of the Half Moon Bay shooting here.

Brandon Tsay details 40-second altercation that ended with him disarming the gunman

Brandon Tsay, the man who disarmed Monterey Park suspect Huu Can Tran, said he had never held a gun prior to his altercation on Saturday.

Tran, who was pronounced dead Sunday following a self-inflicted gunshot wound, is suspected of killing 11 people and wounding nine others in a shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California on Saturday.

Following the massacre, the 72-year-old gunman walked into the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in nearby Alhambra, California — a moment Tsay said initially made him freeze up.

“He had a gun pointed at me. It seemed like he was trying to scout out the room for other people,” Tsay said. “He didn’t say anything at all, he was silent, even stoic, very scary that he wasn’t even saying anything or giving me any instructions.”

When it seemed like the gunman was preparing to fire his weapon, Tsay said he sprang into action.

Realizing the gunman was distracted, Tsay said he lunged at him with both arms and grabbed his weapon.

“I would say the struggle lasted 40 seconds,” Tsay said. “But it felt like way longer, it felt like an eternity with the adrenaline and my thoughts.”

Tsay said he was able to yank the gun away, then pointed the weapon at the gunman and told him to leave, threatening to shoot him.

“I thought I would actually have to kill him,” Tsay said. “Yes, I was prepared to fire but I didn’t want to shoot him anywhere that would be fatal. I wanted to see if I could aim at the legs over the arms. Something that would stop him from trying to cover the gun.”

Asked if he ever thought he was capable of shooting someone, Tsay said:

“If I was to view my past experiences, it seems like I would have more of a flight response, to run away. But now that I see that in this situation, my character and my mentality is totally different,” he said.

Tsay has been hailed as a hero for his actions.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted a picture of his meeting with Tsay simply saying: “This is what a hero looks like.”

Tsay said he understands the responsibility of the word “hero.”

Officials shared new details in its shooting investigation. Here's what we know now

Officials are still investigating many of the details of the mass shooting Saturday that left 11 people dead in Monterey Park, California.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna and several other officials provided updates Monday while acknowledging they still don’t have a motive for the rampage at a dance studio.

What we know so far is that the 72-year-old gunman walked into Star Ballroom Dance Studio in the Los Angeles neighborhood and opened fire shortly after a Lunar New Year celebration. The man then drove to a second dance hall in neighboring Alhambra where he entered with a firearm but fled after being disarmed, officials said.

The gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Sunday when his vehicle was approached by police officers.

Here’s what else we learned:

  • The victims: Four of the 11 victims have been named so far. They are Xiujuan Yu, a 57-year-old woman, Valentino Alvero, a 68-year-old man, Mymy Nhan, a 65-year-old woman, and Lilan Li, a 63-year-old woman the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office said. Officials said they are still working to notify the families of the other victims before identifying them.
  • The scene at the dance studio: The gunman fired 42 rounds of ammunition from a high-capacity handgun at the dance hall in Monterey Park, according to Luna. The sheriff said officials believe one person was shot outside of the studio in a vehicle before the gunman continued his rampage inside. Luna said they are “still putting it all together,” including determining if the shooting was planned.
  • Search of the suspect’s home: 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,” Luna said. Officials also found “hundreds of rounds of ammunition.” The items, which now need to be thoroughly tested, according to the sheriff, were gathered from a search warrant that was executed earlier Monday.
  • No motive yet: The gunman’s motive is still unknown, several officials said. The suspect had a “limited criminal history,” according to the sheriff, noting an arrest in 1990 for unlawful possession of a firearm. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said he believes the shooting seems to have been targeted, pointing to the fact that the gunman was “very familiar” with the dance studio where the shooting took place. People who knew the gunman told CNN that he used to go to the studio frequently.
  • Mass shootings in America: 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 was the deadliest attack since the Uvalde massacre in May 2022.

At least one Chinese citizen killed in Monterey Park mass shooting, consulate says

At least one Chinese citizen was killed in the Monterey Park mass shooting on Saturday, the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles said in a statement.

The statement didn’t specify how many Chinese citizens were among the 11 victims. 

“The serious shooting incident in the Chinese community is shocking and deeply regrettable,” the Chinese Consulate said in the statement. The Chinese embassy and consulates in the US were ordered to lower their flags to half-staff.

The consulate also reminded Chinese citizens in its consular district to “raise risk awareness, strengthen security precautions, and ensure their own safety,” according to the statement.

73-year-old woman injured in shooting discharged from hospital

A 73-year-old woman who was injured in Saturday’s mass shooting in Monterey Park has been released from LAC+USC Medical Center, a statement from Chief Executive Officer Jorge Orozco said. 

The medical center announced Monday afternoon one of the four patients they were caring for died from their injuries

"The light of the class": Mymy Nhan's instructor remembers her energy on the dance floor

Mymy Nhan, who was killed in the mass shooting in Monterey Park, had a constant smile on her face and was “the light” of any dance class. That is how Maksym Kapitanchuk, Nhan’s dance instructor, is remembering her.

“I don’t even think I’ve ever seen her without her smile, even through the mask I can see her eyes smiling. She’d been the light of the class, of any party, any class,” he told CNN on Monday.

He said he met Nhan in 2010. She became one of his first students and helped him start his dance teaching career.

As loved ones remember not just Nhan, but all 11 victims killed in the shooting, Kapitanchuk said he knows people will come together, describing the network of dancers as an “incredibly strong and positive community.” 

He said those who come to the studio were dedicated, even if they just take dance lessons as a hobby. He said he already has eight classes confirmed for Tuesday.

“This type of violence, it won’t put them down. They’re going to be fighting until the end. They’re going to stay so positive.”

Los Angeles County DA: Mass shooting seems to have been very targeted

The gunman was “very familiar” with the dance studio in Monterey Park where the shooting took place, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón told CNN’s Erin Burnett Monday.

“He has been part of that community, he met his ex-wife there,” Gascón said on the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. “There is certainly the appearance that this was targeted.”

As far as how the gunman was able to get a hold of weapons — one of which was a modified semi-automatic firearm — that are considered illegal in California, Gascón said he “has been a gun enthusiast for many years,” so it is possible he acquired some of the weapons before they were illegal in California.

One victim was likely shot in vehicle outside dance studio before gunman entered, sheriff says

One victim was likely shot outside of Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park before the gunman went inside and continued shooting, ultimately killing 11 people, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

That person was killed in a vehicle, the sheriff said at a news conference Monday.

Luna said investigators are still looking at whether the gunman planned the shooting and what the motive was.

Gunman's motive still unknown in mass shooting, sheriff says

The gunman’s motive in Saturday’s mass shooting is still unknown, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

“Did he plan this? Was it the day of? Was it the week before? What drove a mad man to do this? We don’t know,” Luna said at a news conference Monday. “But we intend to find out. And we’re as curious as you are because it’s — I mean, this is disturbing… How can you even come to reason that somebody would even think about doing something like this? It’s horrendous,” the sheriff said.

Luna said the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office are all assisting in the investigation.

Investigators did discover the gunman was attempting to manufacture “homemade firearm suppressors,” Luna said, after they gathered items at his home after a search warrant was executed earlier Monday.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

2 more shooting victims have been identified

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.

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. 

Timeline: How the Monterey Park mass shooting and manhunt unfolded

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.

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 fro