Ballroom shooter, 72, kills 10 before two heroes shut him down

The suspected California dance studio murderer, believed to have fatally shot 10 and injured more, was reported dead following a three-hour standoff with police made possible in part by heroic “community members” at a second location.

“They saved lives. This could’ve been much worse.”

Tragedy struck Monterey Park, California Saturday after a man allegedly opened fire at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio as the area celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year. Following initial reports of at least ten fatalities, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna revealed the identity of the suspected killer and details of a likely attempt to kill more at a second location.

Within a half hour of opening fire in Monterey Park, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran was reported to have traveled to the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, California where Luna said, “He intended to kill more people.”

“The suspect walked in there, probably with the intent to kill more people, and two brave community members decided they were going to jump into action and disarm him,” the sheriff explained.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday morning, the suspect was found inside a van in Torrance, California, a little more than 20 miles away from the second dance studio and a three-hour standoff with law enforcement commenced. Ultimately, a single shot was fired and when SWAT closed in on the vehicle they found the suspect dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A single handgun was reported in the vehicle with the suspect and Luna reminded the public about the actions taken by civilians that may have prevented more tragedy. “Remember, the suspect went to the Alhambra location after he conducted the shooting and he was disarmed by two community members who I consider to be heroes,” he said. “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.”

The sheriff went on to decry gun violence in his press conference and was not alone as politicians were quick to roll out their standard narratives. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) took to Twitter after visiting with members of the community and wrote, “Spent time in Monterey Park today meeting with leaders and those impacted by this terrible tragedy. The strength of this community is incredible. No other country in the world is terrorized by this constant stream of gun violence,” he went on in spite of differing statistics. “We need real gun reform at a national level.”

Meanwhile, not only did Mayor Karen Bass point blame at firearms, she leaned into suggesting the tragedy may have been racially motivated before a suspect had been identified. “The reports coming out of Monterey Park are absolutely devastating. Families deserve to celebrate the holidays in peace — mass shooting and gun violence are a plague on our communities,” she wrote in a statement.”

“As investigations determine whether these murders were motivated by Asian hate, we continue to stand united against all attempts to divide us,” Bass said ironically. “My heart goes out to Monterey Park and the families and friends of those lost.”

What is known, according to CNN, is that the suspect used to be a regular at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio where he would give free impromptu lessons. It was in this way that he met his ex-wife from whom he had been divorced since 2005.

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Kevin Haggerty

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