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Update: It Took 5 Hours For Police to Warn The Public That Monterey Park Shooter Was Still On The Loose, AP Reports

10:27 AM PST on January 23, 2023

    Update at 1:03 PM: NBC reports that another victim has died following Saturday's deadly mass shooting.


    On Saturday night, a gunman in L.A. County shot at least 20 people, killing 11. The shooting happened at a Lunar New Year celebration at Star Dance Ballroom, a dance hall in Monterey Park at around 10:20 PM, according to authorities. The suspect, later identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, fled the scene afterward. Twenty minutes later, he arrived at an Alhambra dance studio armed with a firearm. Two community members reportedly disarmed Tran before he could cause any further harm. Tran escaped again and was found 30 miles away from the shooting in a white cargo van in Torrance, California, on Sunday, roughly twelve hours after the shooting in Monterey Park. Deputies heard a gunshot as they approached the vehicle, and later it was determined that Tran likely died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

    Here's What We Know Right Now

    Why did it take so long to get updates about the shooting? The Associated Press reported that law enforcement officials took hours to notify the public that a mass shooting had occurred in Monterey Park and five hours to warn residents that the shooter was still on the loose. On Monday L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna said, "We will go back and look at it as we always do. Nobody is as critical as ourselves as to what worked and specifically what didn’t work, and evaluate that, and see what the wait was in determining what the public risk was at that time.”

    Who disarmed the gunman in Alhambra? Brandon Tsay, the man responsible for likely preventing another mass shooting in Alhambra, spoke to the media about disarming the shooter responsible for killing at least 11 in neighboring Monterey Park.

    Who were the victims? On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner released the names and ages of the victims killed in Monterey Park on Saturday. Their ages ranged from 57 to 76.

    What weapons were found? Law enforcement officials said a pistol was found in the white cargo van that the shooter reportedly ended his life in. According to authorities, the firearm that community members were able to wrestle away from Tran was a semi-auto pistol with an extended magazine clip. The pistol with extended clip is illegal to possess in California. 

    What was the motive behind the killings? It's unclear at this time what the shooter's motive was. The NY Times reported that the Monterey Park Ballroom that Tran targeted attracted "older Chinese Americans" and "marquee teachers and high-level performers from around the world."

    Did the shooting happen at the Lunar New Year festival in Monterey Park? The shooting happened at a dance studio in Monterey Park not far away from where thousands of people celebrated the Lunar New Year at a festival. The Times reported that the festival officially ended at 9 PM, about an hour and a half before Tran opened fire on people at Star Dance Ballroom.

    Who is Huu Can Tran? According to authorities, Tran was a 72-year-old resident of Hemet, a small desert town in Riverside County roughly 80 miles from Monterey Park. The Times reported that he lived in a mobile Park home "whose sign billed it as a 55+ active living community." Multiple law enforcement sources told The Times that Tran had "recently" showed up to the Hemet police station twice "saying his family was trying to poison him." He stands out among mass shooters for his age. There has only been one mass shooter over the age of 70, as of 2020, according to a non-profit that tracks and studies mass shootings. Ninety-eight percent of mass shooters are men, according to the organization.

    Who polices Monterey Park? Monterey Park has its own police department. According to their website, they have roughly 75 sworn officers and 44 civilians on staff, and about 80 volunteers. Police Chief Scott Wiese said that the officers who responded to the shooting at Star Dance Ballroom were “some of my youngest." The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the county, was called in to support Monterey Park police following the deadly shooting on Saturday. Homicide investigators with the sheriff's department continued to work with the Monterey Park police, FBI, and other agencies in the aftermath of the shooting when the shooter was on the run. When Tran's van was near Torrance, an LASD SWAT team responded. 

    What resources are available to folks that the shooting has impacted? Langley Senior Center has "turned into a crisis response center," ABC 7 reported. "There are mental health resources available for anyone who needs support," the City of Monterey Park wrote in a news release.

    A memorial has been set up at Monterey Park City Hall (320 W. Newmark Avenue) for community members to mourn and honor the victims of one of California's deadliest mass shootings.

    There are at least two verified GoFundMe campaigns to support the families of the Monterey Park mass shooting victims. If you're interested in donating, be careful of scammers! 

    Where can I find accurate information about the Monterey Park mass shooting? It's been less than 48 hours since the Monterey Park shooting, here are some news outlets and journalists to follow to stay up to date:

    The L.A. Times has won Pulitzer Prizes for their local breaking news coverage and reporting on mass shootings. With a staff that includes hundreds of journalists, they have the resources to assign a whole team of reporters, photographers, and videographers to cover a story like this. Follow their coverage here.

    Independent journalists Sean Beckner-Carmitchel and Emily Holshouser were among the first reporters on the ground following the shooting. Both reporters regularly contribute to Knock-LA, an independent local non-profit newsroom, and Holshouer has written stories for L.A. TACO. 

    Look to LAist/KPCC for stories that provide more context about the cultural significance of Monterey Park to the Asian American community and guides for mental health support.

    Find news releases and information regarding local resources on the City of Monterey Park's official website.

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