Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said Tuesday, Jan. 24, that investigators were still investigating how the man who gunned down 11 people at a popular Ballroom dance studio on Saturday entered the building that night and left.
Authorities said the suspect, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran from Hemet, entered the Star Ballroom Dance Studio around 10:20 p.m. that evening, where he opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol at a room full of people.
He then fled the scene and traveled to the neighboring Alhambra, where he was disarmed and kicked out before fleeing again. Authorities caught up with him the next day in a Torrance parking lot, where they found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot in a large white van.
The Star Ballroom has a main entrance on the south and an emergency exit door on the west side of the building.
Others in the ballroom would have used both exits in their escape attempts, said Wiese.
However, it remained unclear how Tran got in or got out.
When Wiese arrived, firefighters had set up triage in a parking lot south of the main entrance, he said.
Inside was chaos.
“That’s how you imagine it,” said Wiese. “The victims didn’t know what was coming. They were in the middle of a party and the next moment they were shot.”
The first responders were equipped with body-worn cameras, Wiese said, and data from those cameras is still being collected.
The cameras start filming automatically when an officer turns on the lights and sirens in their emergency vehicles. But Wiese wasn’t sure if officers activated lights and sirens, or if they turned them on manually — if at all — when they arrived.
Officers quickly secured the scene so firefighters could get in and treat the victims, Wiese said.
Investigators are still looking for the motive behind the attacks, the chief said.
“We have the facts, but we focus on the motive,” said Wiese. “Maybe we’ll never know.”
The first responders, though shaken, were doing better with the support of grief counselors on the ward, the chief said.
An update on the injured victims was not available Tuesday afternoon, although Wiese said officials were looking into it. The identities of the 11 people killed were released by the coroner’s office on Tuesday morning.
Wiese himself described the tragedy as a difficult task, especially for a new chief with a crew of less experienced officers.
“What struck me was the randomness of the violence,” he said. “There was no warning at all.”
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/01/24/how-monterey-park-gunman-entered-exited-dance-hall-focus-of-police-investigation/ As the Monterey Park shooter entered the dance hall, the focus of the police investigation – exited the Orange County Register