Monterey Park shooting: gunman found dead in van after killing 11 during Lunar New Year celebrations

The shooting happened in Monterey Park after Lunar New Year events had taken place

The death toll in a California mass shooting has risen to 11, authorities have confirmed. The suspect in the mass shooting at a dance hall during Lunar New Year celebrations fatally shot himself in his van as officers closed in.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said on Sunday (22 January) the man was found dead in the vehicle he used to flee the scene of an attempted second shooting.

The suspected gunman was identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran. Sheriff Luna said no other suspects are still at large and added that the motive remained unclear for the attack.

He did not have the exact ages of the victims but said they all appeared to be over 50. Seven of the wounded people remained in the hospital, Sheriff Luna added.

US Congresswoman Judy Chu, a California Democrat, said: “I still have questions in my mind, which is: What was the motive for this shooter? Did he have a mental illness? Was he a domestic violence abuser? How did he gets these gun and was it through legal means or not?”

Earlier on Sunday police surrounded the van with tactical vehicles and bomb squad trucks for hours before going in. A person’s body appeared to be slumped over the wheel and was later removed from the vehicle.

Sheriff Luna said the earlier shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park left five women and five men dead and wounded another 10 people. One of those seriously wounded later died from their injuries, raising the total death toll to 11.

Police stand guard at the scene near the intersection of Garvey and Garfield Avenue in Monterey Park, California, after 10 people were killed in a shooting. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

According to reports, the shooting happened on Saturday (21 January) at about 10pm local time (6am on Sunday (22 January) in the UK).

LA police said the incident occurred at a business premises in Monterey Park Los Angeles Times had reported “multiple casualties” after the shooting and The New York Times has said that there are “multiple dead” but this has not been officially confirmed.

The Lunar New Year celebration had attracted thousands. Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people with a large Asian population about 10 miles (16km) from Los Angeles city centre. The incident marks the fifth mass shooting in the US this month and the deadliest since 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the US.

The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.

What have police said?

In a statement, Capt Meyer said people had been “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived on the scene at around 10.30pm local time on Saturday – 6.30am on Sunday in the UK. He said officers had gone into the ballroom as firefighters treated the wounded.

Capt Meyer said the wounded had been taken to hospitals and that their conditions ranged from stable to critical. At the time, he said the 10 people had died at the scene in Monterey Park, a city east of Los Angeles. This number later increased

What have witnesses said?

Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood restaurant in the area, told the Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door. He said he was told there was a gunman with a machine gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him. Mr Choi said he believes the shooting took place at a dance club.

The people also told Mr Choi that there was a gunman with a weapon who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him.

The shooting occurred close to where thousands of people had attended a Lunar New Year celebration. Saturday was the start of the two-day festival, which is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California. Videos posted on social media showed people being loaded onto stretchers and placed into ambulances. Other photos showed bloodied and bandaged victims being treated by Monterey Park firefighters in a car park.