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Shooter targets 'establishments of joy' in Monterey Park Lunar New Year mass shooting

Brittny Mejia, Gabriel San Román and Debbie Truong, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Walter Calderon, a dance teacher in L.A. and Orange counties, said the crowds on Saturdays are a mix of seniors and middle-aged people. The playlist would include many songs in Chinese, he said.

Around 10:22 p.m. Saturday, the Monterey Park Police Department responded to a “shots fired” call at the studio, officials said. When officers arrived, there were victims in the parking lot and patrons trying to flee.

Inside, they found numerous gunshot victims. Firefighters pronounced 10 people dead at the scene, L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna said. He said the victims, five men and five women, were probably “in their 50s, 60s and some maybe even beyond there.”

As of Sunday afternoon, seven victims were still hospitalized.

Authorities believe that, after opening fire at the Monterey Park studio, the gunman went to Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, about two miles north. Two community members disarmed the suspect there, Luna said. He called them “heroes.”

On Sunday, Torrance police officers located a white van matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle. As they pulled behind it, the driver entered a shopping center parking lot, Luna said. As the officers exited their vehicle, they heard a gunshot from inside.


Tran was pronounced dead at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A search of the van turned up evidence linking him to the locations in Monterey Park and Alhambra, Luna said. He did not share what that evidence was.

“We still are not clear on the motive,” Luna said. “We want to know how something this awful can happen.”

Yang, who owns a law office building across the street from the studio, has been taking ballroom dancing lessons at Star on Monday nights.

She was celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve, exchanging red envelopes and eating dinner with family at home when she started receiving texts from friends who were worried about her after news of the shooting broke.


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