Monterey Park shooter, 72, lived ‘quietly’ alone in seniors village and had told police his ‘family was trying to poison him’: Ex-wife ‘was invited to Lunar New Year party at dance studio he targeted but he wasn’t’
- Huu Can Tran lived alone at the Lakes at Hemet West seniors community
- He killed 10 people at the Star Dance Studio on Saturday at a New Year party
- Tran had complained to local police he thought his family was trying to kill him
The Monterey Park shooter who murdered 10 people on Saturday at a Lunar New Year party in a dance hall lived quietly in a community for the elderly, surprised neighbors have revealed.
Huu Can Tran, 72, shot himself on Sunday in a van after being surrounded by SWAT teams. His motive for the rampage at Star Dance Studio remains unconfirmed, but police sources say it was a ‘domestic dispute’.
His ex-wife had been invited to the party at the studio where he used to teach, but he had not, according to Chester Chong, chairman of the Chinese Chamber Commerce of Los Angeles.
Huu Can Tran, 72, shot himself on Sunday in a van after being surrounded by SWAT teams. His motive for the rampage at Star Dance Studio remains unconfirmed, but police sources say it was a ‘domestic dispute’. He is shown in surveillance footage from Saturday
Tran used to teach classes at the studio and he met his ex-wife there.
They divorced in 2005.
According to The L.A. Times, Tran had complained to police in Hemet, where he lived, that he feared his family were trying to poison him. It’s unclear if he and his ex have any children.
He lived alone at The Lakes at Hemet West, a community for over 55s some 75 miles away from the shootings.
‘Tran was just a nice guy. I mean, I’d see him riding his little, small motorcycle in and out, once in a while in his van.
‘He’d stop to pet your dog, and everybody around here just thought he was just some quiet, little guy.
‘The people I’ve talked to are just stunned that he was involved in this.
‘Pretty much lived alone, and I guess he taught dance or something, ballroom dance,’ neighbor Pat Roth told Inland News.
Tran lived at The Lakes at Hemet West, a retirement community for people over 50. Neighbors said he was quiet and polite, and would stop to pet their dogs
A home next door to Tran’s that is currently for sale. He lived alone
The ex-wife has not been named publicly. She however told CNN that Tran was hot-tempered and cruel to her when they worked at Star Dance.
An old friend also revealed that he felt the instructors at Star Dance didn’t like him, and would say ‘evil things’ about him.
He was ‘hostile to a lot of people there,’ the friend, who also did not want to be named, said.
He moved to the seniors community in 2013. Tran owns a trucking business called Tran’s Trucking, but the company does not seem to be operational.
On Saturday, he opened fire on the Star Dance Studio at 10.22pm, shooting at random before fleeing in his van.
He then went to the Lai Lai Ballroom, where he was tackled by Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old son of the ballroom’s owners, who was there helping out.
Tsay punched the gunman’s glasses off his face in the struggle. Tran fled and later killed himself
There was a struggle between the pair, with Tran punching Tsay and hitting him with the gun
Tsay told Good Morning America and The New York Times how he was helping out on Saturday night at his family’s business when dozens had come to the ballroom for a Lunar New Year party.
‘It was Chinese New Year’s, we were hosting a social dance party.
‘I was in the lobby and it was late into the evening. Most of our customers already left, I was looking into the dance ballroom.
‘This is when I heard the sound of the front door creaking, instantly followed by the sound of metal objects rubbing together.
‘I turned around and saw there was an Asian man holding a gun. My first thought was, I was going to die here. This is it.’
He told The New York Times in a separate interview that it was ‘primal instinct’ to attack him, and that Tran’s eyes were ‘menacing’.
Tsay had never seen Tran before.
He said he instantly knew he was there to commit a mass shooting, and was scanning the room for targets.
‘I could tell he was not here to rob us, he wasn’t looking for money. He was looking around the room. It seemed like he was looking for targets, people to harm.
Shortly after he was spotted at the hospital for treatment, Tran was pulled over by police. A SWAT team swarmed the van after a three-hour long standoff
‘Something came over me – I realized I needed to take this weapon, disarm him, or else everybody would have died.
‘When I got the courage, I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon an we struggled into the lobby, trying to get this gun away from each other. He was hitting me across the face and bashing my head.
‘I was trying to create some distance. Finally, at one point, I was able to pull the gun away from him, shove him aside and create some distance.
‘I was able to get the gun and point it at him, intimidate him, shout: “Get the hell away from here! I’ll shoot! Get away!”
‘At this point, I thought he would run away. He was contemplating whether to fight or run away. I really thought I’d have to shoot him. This is when he turned around and walked out the door, and walked back to his van.
‘I immediately called the police, with the gun still in my hand. I couldn’t believe what happened,’ he said.
The Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, which was targeted on Saturday night
Tran was also identified as the man gunman who entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra just 20 to 30 minutes after the first shooting, but brave patrons thwarted his attack
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