The Monterey Park Shooting

Mourners gather to pay respect to the victims of the Monterey Park Shooting | Source: The Los Angeles Times

On January 21, 2023, 11 people lost their lives in another mass shooting. Monterey Park, California, had been hosting their annual Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival to celebrate the beginning of the Chinese lunar calendar when the shooting occurred. With over 65% of Monterey Park’s residents identifying as Asian American, the event is extremely popular and essential to this town’s culture. 

At around 10:22 PM, a gunman, now identified as suspect Huu Can Tran, a 72-year-old resident, opened fire using an illegal gun at a nearby dance studio named Star Dance, filled with people celebrating the holiday. Twenty people were shot, with 11 losing their lives over the last few days. Five were men, and six were women, all over 55 years old. 

Tran is also the suspect in another incident 17 minutes after the Monterey shooting at another dance studio in Alhambra, California. Here, the suspect entered the studio, but several people wrestled the gun out of his hands before he could fire. 

Tran had a previous arrest in 1997 for illegal possession of a firearm. With California having the strictest gun laws in the U.S. and the suspect using prohibited weapons, many fear that our current laws are not working to protect the citizens of our country. 

Tran was found after being pulled over by cops in Torrance, California, roughly 30 miles from the second almost-shooting, in a white van with stolen license plates. After being surrounded by cops, Tran committed suicide with the gun he brought to the shootings. 

Recently, Tran was known for having a “deep hatred” for those at the dance club, although he was a frequent visitor from time to time. Before this, he was a freelance dance instructor, giving free lessons to those who agreed to learn. He used to be a frequent visitor of Star Dance, although he hadn’t been in five years, and the Lai Lai Ballroom. 

Some described Tran as a good teacher and dancer. While other club members claimed there were no tensions between Tran and other members, some claimed a run-away love interest brought on his rage. Most witnesses claimed he was delusional and believed everyone was jealous of him and his skills, therefore, eliciting his anger. Despite all of this, no motive has been clearly identified.

About the Author

Maya Holland
Maya Holland is a staff writer for The Acronym. They are a senior here this year, and aside from writing, they like political activism, public speaking, and finding the best quiet places across campus. If you ever need them, check out the library!

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