California police investigate motive in Asian dance hall massacre – Reuters

California police investigate motive in Asian dance hall massacre – Reuters

MONTEREY PARK, Calif., Jan 23 (Reuters) – California investigators scrambled on Monday to pin down why an elderly gunman killed 10 people in a Los Angeles-area dance hall popular with older patrons of Asian descent before fatally shooting himself hours later.

Police identified 72-year-old Huu Can Tran as the suspect in Saturday night’s massacre, which took place over the Lunar New Year, one of the most festive holidays in Asian cultures.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said on Sunday that “everything is on the table” in terms of motive for the shooting, which also wounded 10 others.

“We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime defined by law, but who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people?” Luna said.

Officials worked into Monday trying to identify the 10 people Tran allegedly killed at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, about 7 miles (11 km) east of downtown Los Angeles. Ten people were wounded in the attack, and seven of them were still hospitalized late Sunday.

Tran’s rampage could have been worse. About 20 minutes after the shooting in Monterey Park, he entered the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio dance club in the neighboring city of Alhambra. There, Brandon Tsay, who operates the family-run dance hall, wrestled a weapon away from the shooter before he could get a shot off.

“That moment, it was primal instinct,” Tsay told the New York Times, saying that the gunman fled the scene after a 90-second struggle. “Something happened there. I don’t know what came over me.”

About 12 hours later, police officers in Torrance, 20 miles southwest of Monterey Park, approached a white cargo van that Tran was driving. As officers neared the van, they heard a single gun shot from inside as Tran killed himself.

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