Lunar New Year massacre: Possible motive for Monterey Park gunman Huu Can Tran

Authorities identified 72-year-old Huu Can Tran as the man who killed 11 people and wounded several others near a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park Saturday night.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Tran was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after finding his body inside a white van. They also recovered a handgun from the vehicle. 

During a press conference Monday afternoon, sheriff Luna said that they executed a search warrant at Tran's home in the 5000 block of W. Florida Avenue in a Hemet senior community. During the search, investigators recovered a .308-caliber rifle, hundreds of rounds of .308-caliber and 9mm ammunition and "items that lead us to believe the suspect was manufacturing homemade firearm suppressors," or silencers. 

According to Luna, 42 shell casings were recovered inside the Star Ballet Dance Studio where the shooting occurred Saturday night.

The sheriff also said that the suspect was arrested in 1990 for unlawful possession of firearm.

Neighbors told FOX 11 Tran owned his home and mostly kept to himself. He had lived there for about a year.

"Everyone here thought he was a quiet little guy… he kept to himself… pretty much lived alone," one neighbor said of Tran.

Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo said Tran may have had a history of visiting the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

"Perhaps the motivation has to do with some personal relationships, but that is something investigators are still uncovering and investigating," Lo said. 


Tran was a divorced dance instructor at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, Congresswoman Judy Chu confirmed. She raised questions on whether jealousy could have been part of Tran's motive. 

"I just wonder, there are rumors out there that he was jealous of some woman in there that was dancing, and that's why he did this. We don't know. And maybe he was looking for her, didn't find her there, and then went to the second dance studio trying to find her and tried to do it again before the people [wrestled] the gun away."

Tran and his ex-wife divorced in 2005.

At this time detectives have not found any evidence of domestic violence and do not know if his wife was in the Monterey Park studio during the shooting.

Chester Chang with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce said although he did not know the suspect personally, he has been talking to other community members and believes this could have stemmed from a domestic dispute. 

"I heard about the [ex] wife want to be here to do the service of the ceremony and the [ex] husband don't want him to come. Did this [ex] husband come here and [do] this shooting, [to] the people?" Chang, who is friends with the owners of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, said.

Tran had visited the Hemet Police Department earlier this month on Jan. 7 and 9 alleging past fraud and theft, officials said. Tran also made allegations to police that his family in the Los Angeles area tried poisoning him 10 to 20 years ago, but never brought in proof to support those claims.

Officials said they are investigating the theory that Tran planned this rampage since he also went to the second ballroom studio in Alhambra.

FOX News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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