A 72-year-old man suspected of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, that claimed the lives of 10 people, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot injury after a standoff with police officers.
In the mass shooting incident on Saturday, deemed as one of the deadliest in the US state’s recent history, five women and five men were killed, while another 10 people suffered injuries, reports Xinhua news agency.
The tragic incident occurred at 10.22 p.m. in Star Ballroom Dance Studio, a popular ballroom dance facility operated for about 30 years, when it was hosting an event to celebrate the countdown to the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Addressing reporters on Sunday night, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said that the suspect was identified as Huu Can Tran, who entered the party and opened fire before fleeing the scene in a white van.
The vehicle was pulled over in a parking lot on Sunday morning and surrounded by policemen from Torrance, located roughly 50 km southwest of Monterey Park after they heard a gunshot from inside the vehicle.
The man inside the van, who was found dead following a three-hour standoff with the Special Weapons and Tactics team, was confirmed as the suspect later, according to Luna.
A motive for the shooting is yet to be ascertained.
The Sheriff further said that authorities are working to identify the victims.
“Please keep in mind that especially with the deceased victims, the coroner’s office retrieved the remains not that long ago. So, they’re still in the process of identifying. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done to answer a lot of questions that all of us have,” CNN quoted Luna as saying
He said that because the victims haven’t all been identified, he couldn’t say their exact ages, but gave a range.
“I don’t have the specific ages because they have not been identified. But they’re not in their 20s or 30s. They seem to be probably, I would say, in their 50s, 60s, and maybe some even beyond that.”
Monterey Park, a city of 61,000 residents located on the eastern edge of Los Angeles, has a majority, or 65 per cent, Asian-American population.
Starting Saturday, the city hosted an annual two-day Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, one of the largest events in the region.
Thousands had taken part in Saturday’s celebrations which was concluded about one hour before the fatal shooting.
The festivities scheduled for Sunday were cancelled.
Also on Sunday, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation honoring the victims, ordering flags to fly at half-staff at the White House and other federal buildings until sunset on Thursday.
“As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on January 21, 2023, in Monterey Park, California, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 26, 2023,” he said in the proclamation.
In the 23 days of this year, there have already been at least 36 mass shootings in the US so far, according to the nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive.