[Breaking news update, published at 8:30 p.m.]
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said investigators have confirmed that the man found dead inside a white cargo van after a standoff with police in Torrance, California, is the same person suspected of mass shooting in Park Monterey Saturday night.
Luna said officers found the man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the crash.
Luna identified the suspect as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran.
[Previous story, published at 7:35 p.m.]
A man barricaded in a white van in Torrance, California, believed to be connected to the Monterey Park dance studio shooting, has died, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Investigators are trying to determine if the man is the same man who killed 10 people in Monterey Park, the Los Angeles County sheriff said. SWAT officers were away for several hours at the scene of the van.
Multiple law enforcement sources told the Times that the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and that at least two bullet holes were visible in the driver’s side window in the moments before they approached the vehicle.
Police have not publicly confirmed whether the occupant is dead.
As authorities ordered the occupant to leave the van, they heard a sound and believed the driver may have shot himself, law enforcement sources told CNN.
CNN crews on the scene in Torrance have not removed the driver from the van since SWAT teams arrived.
A news conference to discuss the mass shooting will be held Sunday at 4:30 pm (7:30 pm ET) at City Hall in Monterey Park.
For hours, authorities searched for the gunman who opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park as the city’s large Asian-American community celebrated New Year’s weekend.
A weapon recovered by law enforcement in a nearby city shortly after the shooting was traced to the suspect, who provided authorities with his name and description, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case .
In addition to the 10 people killed, 10 others were injured and hospitalized, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert G. Luna said.
“Who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people?” said the sheriff.
• It is still uncertain whether one or more shooters opened fire in Monterey Park, Luna said.
• A group of people fired a gun from a man described as Asian at a dance studio in the nearby city of Alhambra shortly after the Monterey Park mass shooting, Luna said. The sheriff said investigators are trying to determine if the two incidents are related.
• Early information suggests the gunman who killed 10 people in Monterey Park may be Asian, the sheriff said. Although “the description we have now is of an Asian male,” witness descriptions of the gunman differ, Luna said. He warned that the investigation is ongoing. “There’s actually a lot more that we don’t know than what we know right now,” Luna said.
• It is still too early to rule out hate crime as a possible motive, the sheriff said Sunday. “Everything is on the table.”
• Officers responded to a dance studio around 10:22 pm Saturday and found people “pouring out of the place, screaming,” said Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
• The massacre took place in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, according to CNN analysis.
• The 10 victims who were killed were pronounced dead at the scene, Meyer said. “At least 10 other victims were transported to multiple local hospitals and are listed in various conditions from stable to critical,” Meyer said.
The gun that was thrown from the man in Alhambra was a Cobray M11 9mm semi-automatic weapon, according to the law enforcement official. This firearm is designed to accept 30-round magazines that allow for rapid fire without having to change magazines frequently.
The carnage unfolded near the Lunar Park Monterey New Year’s festival, which was scheduled to take place until 9 pm on Garvey Avenue between Garfield and Alhambra avenues.
About 65% of Monterey Park residents are of Asian descent, according to the US Census Bureau.
While it’s unclear whether the separate incidents in Monterey Park and Alhambra are connected and involve the same suspect, “that’s the working theory right now,” according to John Miller, Chief Law Enforcement Analyst and CNN News.
First, Miller said, police will test-fire a round using the gun recovered in Alhambra that wrestled people away from the suspects.
“That will give the ATF the ability to immediately compare the shell casings to see if that weapon matches the one used in Monterey Park,” Miller said. “A game, of course, connects the two events more definitively. If there is no match, it could mean that the same suspect had multiple weapons and went into the second place with another one.”
While it is too early to say whether the massacre was a hate crime, the impact is already being felt among one of the largest Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities in the United States, the mayor of nearby Alhambra said. .
“If this tragedy happens on the Lunar New Year weekend, this is painful,” Alhambra Mayor Sasha Renée Pérez tweeted.
“Monterey Park has one of the largest #AAPI communities in the country. This is the time when residents should be celebrating with family, friends and loved ones – without fear of gun violence.”
Monterey Park, about 7 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is known to host Lunar New Year events drawing more than 100,000 people from across Southern California, according to the city.
It is not clear how many people were still gathered in the area when shots were fired.
“Lunar New Year in Monterey Park should be a joyous night of celebration. Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted.
The local Lunar New Year festival that began Saturday and was scheduled to last through Sunday has been canceled, Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said Sunday.
“Out of an abundance of caution and respect for the victims, we are canceling the event later today,” Wiese said.
Authorities are asking the public for any tips that could help with the investigation. Those with information can contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or provide an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
The Monterey Park massacre marked at least the 33rd mass shooting in the United States so far this month, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit and CNN define a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot, not including the shooter.