January 24, 2023 - Monterey Park mass shooting

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Maureen Chowdhury and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 9:42 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023
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5:06 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Vice President Harris to travel to Monterey Park, California, to mourn mass shooting victims

From CNN's Jasmine Wright 

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel Wednesday to California to mourn the 11 victims in the Monterey Park mass shooting, her office said.

Harris will be the highest-ranking official from the Biden administration to visit the scene. The California native is expected to lay a wreath honoring the victims, meet with families of those impacted and the young man credited with disarming the gunman — Brandon Tsay.

The office did not say whether Harris will also visit Half Moon Bay, where seven people were killed in a mass shooting on Monday.

On Sunday, the vice president addressed the shooting, and declared: “This violence must stop. 

“I do want to address the tragedy of what happened in my home state, in Monterey Park, California,” Harris told a crowd in Tallahassee, Florida, addressing the shooting at the beginning of her remarks on Roe v. Wade.

“A time of a cultural celebration… and yet another community has been torn apart by senseless gun violence,” Harris said, noting that the shooting took place the weekend of the Lunar New Year. 

Harris is the first South Asian and Black US vice president.

5:45 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Star Ballroom shooting victim remembered as a cultural force in Monterey Park

From CNN’s Natasha Chen

Ming Wei Ma is seen in a photo from Star Dance Studio. CNN has blurred a portion of this image to protect the person's identity. 
Ming Wei Ma is seen in a photo from Star Dance Studio. CNN has blurred a portion of this image to protect the person's identity.  (From Star Dance Studio)

Ming Wei Ma, an employee of the Star Ballroom Dance known by the nickname Little Ma Brother, was described by a patron as “very enthusiastic” and very involved in the operations at the studio.

Ma was one of the 11 people killed in the mass shooting at the dance hall on Saturday night.

May Hua Huang, a regular at the studio, said Ma didn’t teach dance and mostly managed, but one time helped her learn the Cha Cha.

“One time, I said I don’t know how to dance the Cha Cha,” Huang told CNN. “He said, ‘here, I’ll show you.’ He led me to the dance floor and we did a few steps. He said, ‘you do know how.’ I said, ‘I’ve never danced this before.’ He said, ‘this is easy!’ I said, ‘you teach me then.’ He said, ‘no, no — there are actual instructors here. There are instructors.’”

Huang learned of the shooting when her son called her around 8:00 a.m. PT Sunday to see if she was OK.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I immediately looked at the media, and suddenly I felt like my heart was so tight. How could something like this happen? So horrifying.”

Shuhui Peng, a friend of Ma’s, described him as being a cultural force in the Monterey Park entertainment community.

4:15 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Former friend of Monterey Park shooter describes him as distrustful

From CNN’s Stephanie Becker

Adam Hood, a former friend of the Monterey Park suspected gunman Huu Can Tran, described Tran as distrustful. 

“His personality can be summed up in two words: distrust, he did not trust anyone,” Hood said. “And hatred. He could hate people to death. He pushed it to the extreme.”  

Hood said he hadn’t seen Tran, who’s accused of shooting and killing 11 people at a California dance studio, in about eight or nine years. Hood had rented an apartment from Tran and ultimately knew him for 20 years, but they had a falling out, as reported in the New York Times

Hood refused to be recorded or have his photo taken. He referred to Tran as Andy, the name he says Tran used. 

Hood said his former friend hated “whoever he thought was not nice to him" and that "there were other dance instructors he did not like at both (Lai Lai and Star Ballrooms)."

He added that Tran thought “the instructors were not nice to him, he thought they spoke evil of him."

"That was baseless," Hood said. "He was always unhappy with the people in the studios, always complaining about studio bosses and other instructors, not about the students. It was all in his mind.”

“He didn’t like people. He never fought with anyone or argued. Basically I think it was his personality and he hated people to the bone," he added.

According to Hood, Tran lived a simple life, had no friends or other hobbies and he always liked to dance.

Hood, who lives about 10 minutes from Star Ballroom in an apartment complex, says that he hasn’t been to the studio since the pandemic and doesn’t plan on returning. 

He said he's afraid that he will know many of the victims on the coroner’s list.

Earlier today, the coroner identified all 11 who were killed.

1:43 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Investigators are searching for a motive in the Monterey Park shooting. Here's what we know

From CNN staff

Flowers are placed near the scene of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, on January 22.
Flowers are placed near the scene of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, on January 22. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Authorities are still investigating many of the details of the mass shooting Saturday that left 11 people dead and injured nine others at a dance studio on Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California.

The man who disarmed the 72-year-old gunman at the second dance studio in nearby Alhambra described to CNN the moment he came face to face with the gunman:

“I just had this rush of thought and adrenaline. I was able to come to the conclusion that I needed to do something, I needed to grab the gun. I needed to save myself and people inside,” Brandon Tsay said.

The suspect fled and Tsay called police to the site. Less than a day later, the suspect was found dead inside a white van about 30 miles away in Torrance as a SWAT team swarmed the vehicle. The sheriff said the suspect died following a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Here's the latest on the shooting and investigation:

  • The victims: All 11 victims have been identified by the Los Angeles County Coroner Medical Examiner’s Office. They ranged in age from late 50s to mid 70s.
  • 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 39 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.
1:16 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Los Angeles coroner's office releases names of Monterey Park shooting victims

From CNN's Stella Chan

The Los Angeles County Coroner Medical Examiner’s Office has released the names of all 11 victims in the Monterey Park mass shooting. All were in their late 50s to mid 70s.

The names are:

  • My Nhan, 65 
  • Lilian Li, 63
  • Xiujuan Yu, 57
  • Muoi Ung, 67
  • Hong Jian, 62
  • Yu Kao, 72
  • Chia Yau, 76
  • Valentino Alvero, 68
  • Wen Yu, 64
  • Ming Ma, 72
  • Diana Tom, 70
11:53 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

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

From CNN's Annette Choi, Janie Boschma, Curt Merrill and John Murphy-Teixidor 

There have been 39 mass shootings in the United States so far this year — putting 2023 on pace to have the most mass shootings at this point than any year on record, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA). In a three-day span, three mass shootings have taken place in California, including Monday's shooting in Half Moon Bay.

The dangerous pace of mass shootings escalated in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and has persisted since then. Between 2019 and 2020, the total number of mass shootings each year jumped from 417 to 610. Then, 2021 became the worst year for mass shootings since GVA began tracking them in 2012, with 690 across 44 states and Washington, DC. There were 647 mass shootings in 2022.

Here's a look at the rise of mass shootings across the years:

More on the data: CNN reports mass shootings based on data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks gun violence in the United States. CNN and the GVA define a mass shooting as a shooting that injured or killed four or more people, not including the shooter. The number of mass shootings and casualties is not exact and subject to change as reports from law enforcement, media and other sources GVA relies upon are updated and verified.

10:39 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

In pictures: Monterey Park community mourns after deadly mass shooting

From CNN Digital's Photo Team

As investigators work to determine a motive in the mass shooting that killed 11 people and injured nine others at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, the community now faces a long road to recovery, its mayor said.

“People are just in disbelief and shock, and are feeling very numb,” Mayor Henry Lo told CNN Monday night. The Saturday night shooting came as the city’s majority Asian community was marking the Lunar New Year, bringing tragedy on what was supposed to be one of the most auspicious days of the calendar.

See photos from the scene:

People gather at a candlelight vigil for victims of a deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, on Monday evening, January 23.
People gather at a candlelight vigil for victims of a deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, on Monday evening, January 23. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A man takes a closer look through the glass at the interior of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park Monday evening.
A man takes a closer look through the glass at the interior of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park Monday evening. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Brandon Tsay, who encountered an armed man in the lobby of Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, California, speaks to the media Monday. After opening fire inside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, the gunman went to a second dance hall in Alhambra, officials said.
Brandon Tsay, who encountered an armed man in the lobby of Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, California, speaks to the media Monday. After opening fire inside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, the gunman went to a second dance hall in Alhambra, officials said. (Jason Armond/The Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

People mourn outside the entrance of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio Monday evening.
People mourn outside the entrance of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio Monday evening. (David Swanson/Reuters)

A person visits a makeshift memorial outside the dance studio in Monterey Park on Monday.
A person visits a makeshift memorial outside the dance studio in Monterey Park on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Monterey Park near the seen of the shooting on Monday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Monterey Park near the seen of the shooting on Monday. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

An aerial view of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Sunday, January 22.
An aerial view of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Sunday, January 22. (Kirby Lee/AP)

10:29 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Monterey Park mayor says he wants the community to feel safe in dance hall again 

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo addresses the media outside the civic center on Sunday.
Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo addresses the media outside the civic center on Sunday. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo told CNN he wants to see the dance hall that was the site of a deadly shooting become a safe place again.  

The Star Ballroom Dance Studio where the shooting took place on Sunday, resulting in the deaths of 11 people, has been a staple of the community, Lo told CNN on Tuesday.   

“It was a place for people to socialize, to learn how to dance” and was frequented by many generations, he said. “We want to make sure that this dance hall continues to thrive and that people feel safe that they can socialize.” 

Lo said investigators “still don't have a clear picture of the motive.” 

“My understanding is that the gunman had some history with the dance hall. In the past, he frequented [it] and I understand that he also met his ex-wife there,” he said. “However, again, we may never know what was the motivation.”

The suspect, identified as Huu Can Tran, was pronounced dead following a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday as police swarmed a white van in Torrance, about 30 miles from Monterey Park, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

His ex-wife and a longtime acquaintance both told CNN that Tran had once been a regular patron at the studio.

9:33 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Son of Monterey Park shooting victim says his dad was not "the type to run away from danger"

Monterey Park shooting victim Valentino Alvero.
Monterey Park shooting victim Valentino Alvero. (Courtesy Val Anthony Alvero/Family Handout)

Val Anthony Alvero, the son of Monterey Park victim Valentino Alvero, told CNN that his dad was always upbeat and caring for others.

Alvero told CNN’s David Culver that his father hoped to retire in about a year and return to his native Philippines. In his free time, Valentino Alvero could be found at Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

"He'd dance around the house," Val Anthony Alvero said. "He loved that kind of stuff."

"He's not the type to run away from danger," he added.

Val Anthony Alvero said the emotion of anger hasn't surfaced yet against the suspected gunman.

"I don't think it adds anything to be angry to the situation ... I'd just like for better to come out of it," he said.