Huu Can Tran, the deceased suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, had no known connection to his victims, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters Wednesday.
The incident, which left 11 people dead and nine others injured, occurred at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio just after it hosted Lunar New Year celebrations. Luna said investigators are still trying to determine Tran’s motive.
The 72-year-old allegedly fired a total of 42 bullets using a Cobray model CM11-9, a variant of the MAC-10 semi-automatic machine pistol with a 30-round magazine.
The weapon was purchased in Monterey Park on Feb. 9, 1999, but was not registered in the state of California.
Hours after the massacre, Tran was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a Norinco 7.62 X 25mm pistol. Authorities who searched his home recovered a Savage Arms .308 caliber bolt action rifle.
Speaking to CNN, Tran’s ex-wife said she met him at the Monterey Park ballroom, where he gave informal lessons. A former friend also claimed that Tran used to frequent the venue and was “hostile to a lot of people” there.
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A Monterey Park resident reportedly claimed to have learned through discussions on WeChat that Tran was looking for a woman who had been invited to an event at the ballroom. However, he was not invited himself, which allegedly upset him.
One Star Ballroom regular said Tran was banned from the studio after irritating dancers and teachers.
The same allegedly happened in the Alhambra-based Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio, where Tran headed after the shooting but was disarmed. “When he would come to the dance halls, he would offer free lessons, but would tell the woman that in exchange she could only dance with him,” the regular told the Daily Mail. “Many of the dancers and teachers complained that he was argumentative and ultimately Tran was no longer allowed back to either Star Dance Studio or Lai Lai.”
Another dancer who claimed to see Tran every Friday night between 2016 and 2017 believes he was depressed.
“He talked to many dancing friends about his unfortunate life, divorce and not having a place to live,” the dancer wrote in a WeChat group, as per Daily Mail. “So, it could be imaged that he was very depressed. His biggest pride and joy were dancing, but it was taken away.”
“In a lonely New Year’s Eve, he chose to bring the guns to destroy everything. For him, this is the end,” the dancer added.
Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant, had a limited criminal history, with only one arrest in 1990 for unlawful possession of a firearm. It’s unknown whether he was convicted in the case.
Luna urged anyone with information on Tran’s motive to contact the Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
“A lot of rumors out there, a lot of people sharing stories, but again, we will only put out there information that we have verified through facts and evidence,” he said.