California mass shooter was a regular at Monterey Park dance studio

© David Swanson, Reuters

The 72-year-old suspected gunman in Saturday night's mass shooting at a Los Angeles-area dance studio had been a regular there, giving informal lessons and even meeting his ex-wife at the venue, according to friends and media reports.

Authorities say Huu Can Tran opened fire during a celebration of the Lunar New Year at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, popular in the predominantly Asian American city of Monterey Park, east of Los Angeles. The death toll rose to 11 on Monday.

Tran went to another dance club in the neighbouring city of Alhambra soon after the massacre, police say, but a patron there wrestled away his gun, possibly thwarting a second attack. Later, Tran died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Sunday as police approached a van he was driving.

It is exceedingly rare for a person over 70 to carry out a mass shooting. While authorities have not identified a motive, some details have emerged about Tran's background.

Adam Hood, who said he has been a tenant for years in a property Tran owned and spoke to him frequently, told Reuters Tran was an angry, aggressive, distrustful person who did not have many friends but liked ballroom dancing, his main social activity.

"He was a good dancer," said Hood, who met Tran in the early 2000s and said they bonded over their shared experience as Chinese immigrants. "But he was distrustful of the people at the studio, angry and distrustful. I think he just had enough."

Tran complained that people at the studio were talking behind his back, Hood said.


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