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New details emerge in the Monterey Park, California shooting that left 11 dead

Ten people were killed and 10 more were injured at a dance studio near a Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday night. Here, a woman is seen praying for victims outside Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif., on Monday.
Jae C. Hong
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AP
Ten people were killed and 10 more were injured at a dance studio near a Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday night. Here, a woman is seen praying for victims outside Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif., on Monday.

Authorities say they are searching for a motive for the deadly mass shooting that took place over the weekend in a city east of Los Angeles at the beginning of the Lunar New Year.

A mass shooting over the weekend at a dance studio in Monterey Park, a city east of Los Angeles, killed 10 people and left 10 others injured.

After an hours-long manhunt, the suspect was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Torrance, about 30 miles southwest of Monterey Park, officials said. The suspect has been identified as Huu Can Tran, a 72-year-old man.

The late Saturday evening attack took place in a predominantly Asian American community on Lunar New Year's eve, after a popular festival in the area. Officials have not yet identified the victims.

A motive for the shooting is not known. The FBI and state authorities are also involved in the investigation.

The suspect targeted two separate dance studios

Investigators work at the scene of Saturday's mass shooting in Monterey Park, California.
Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Investigators work at the scene of Saturday's mass shooting in Monterey Park, California.

At around 10:22 p.m. local time on Saturday, a gunman opened fire inside of Star Dance Studio, Chinese-owned ballroom dance studio on West Garvey Avenue, less than a block from where a Lunar New Year festival was held. The first day of the two-day festival had just ended. The event, which officials said drew more than 100,000 attendees, was canceled after the shooting.

About a half hour after the attack, the same armed man went into another ballroom studio, Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio, in nearby Alhambra, a few miles away.

The suspect went to the second location with the "intent to kill more people," Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said, but two people successfully disarmed the suspect by wresting the weapon out of his hands.

The suspect was using what local authorities said was a magazine-fed assault-style pistol, of which Luna said he was unsure of its legal status in the state.

On Sunday at about 10:20 a.m., police saw a white cargo van in Torrance, Calif. The driver of the van pulled over and police surrounded it, then heard a single gunshot. Authorities retreated and returned at about 12:52 p.m. with backup, to find Tran inside, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Of the 10 people pronounced dead at the scene, five were women and five were men, officials said. The wounded victims were rushed to local hospitals, in conditions ranging from stable to critical. The victims are in their 50s and above.

The Asian-American community is 'on edge'

Bystanders watch law enforcement agents breaking into a van containing the suspect's body in Torrance, California, on Sunday.
Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Bystanders watch law enforcement agents breaking into a van containing the suspect's body in Torrance, California, on Sunday.

Monterey Park's population is more than 65% Asian, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The city of nearly 60,000 residents had just wrapped up the first day of its Lunar New Year Festival when the shooting occurred.

Lunar New Year, which began Sunday, is one of the most important festivals across Asian societies, including in Vietnam, China, Korea and Mongolia. The holiday historically starts on the first full moon of the lunar year, but its start date and origins may vary across cultures.

Monterey Park council member Thomas Wong, who represents the district where the shooting took place, said his community was shocked, saddened and "on edge."

"Instead of celebrating and bringing family together to look forward to a hopeful and prosperous new year, we're starting it off with a senseless tragedy," Wong told NPR.

Leaders send their condolences to the victims' families

Flowers near the site of Saturday's deadly shooting in Monterey Park, California.
Eric Thayer / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Flowers near the site of Saturday's deadly shooting in Monterey Park, California.

Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo expressed his condolences for the shooting victims and their families at a press conference, and said, "Moving forward, it is important that we be there for them, to provide services and support they need, in what will be a time of healing in the next weeks, months, if not years."

Monterey Park has established a memorial at city hall and a survivor's center at a local senior center.

President Biden has been briefed on the shooting.

"Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night's deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park. I'm monitoring this situation closely as it develops, and urge the community to follow guidance from local officials and law enforcement in the hours ahead," Biden said in a statement on Sunday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom was in Monterey Park following the shooting.

"The strength of this community is incredible," he said. "No other country in the world is terrorized by this constant stream of gun violence. We need real gun reform at a national level.

Police departments in San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia and Houston said they would be increasing the presence of officers at Lunar New Year events following the mass shooting.

The shooting in Monterey Park comes amid an already violent year for the U.S.

The country has seen at least 33 mass shootings in 2023 alone, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive.

The archive defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are injured or killed, other than the shooter.

For a recap of how this news unfolded, read NPR's digital live coverage.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: January 22, 2023 at 9:00 PM PST
A previous version of this article incorrectly said that Lunar New Year starts on the first full moon of the lunar year. In fact, it starts on the first new moon, which is typically the second new moon after the winter solstice.
Emma Bowman
Ayana Archie
Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.