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Coroner releases names of 11 Monterey Park shooting victims as police search for motive

On Tuesday, the names of the six women and five men killed in Monterey Park were made public. All but one were between the ages of 60 and 70.

MONTEREY PARK, California. The 11 people killed in the dance hall shooting were between the ages of 57 and 76, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Tuesday, releasing the names of the dead as investigators continued to investigate the motive behind the worst shooting in the county’s history.

Sheriff Robert Luna called the shooter, 72-year-old Huu Kang Chang, “crazy” and said investigators were looking into whether he had relationships with the people who were shot at the Star ballroom dance studio.

Tran fired 42 semi-automatic shots Saturday night, killing 11 people and injuring nine in a ballroom popular with older Asian Americans. He then drove to another nearby dance hall, where an employee snatched a modified 9mm submachine gun from him, Luna said.

Tran shot himself Sunday as officers surrounded the van he was in. A gun was retrieved from the van, which matched the description of the car in which he left the dance studio.

The shooting was the fifth nationwide mass murder of the year and the deadliest attack since May 24, when 21 people were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

As Monterey Park residents and Asian Americans recovered from Monday’s violence, a gunman in Northern California killed seven people on two farms. It was the third mass shooting in California in eight days.

On Tuesday, the names of the six women and five men killed in Monterey Park were made public. All but one were between the ages of 60 and 70.

Tran once frequented a ballroom and another dance hall he later set his sights on and complained about how he thought people treated him there, a man who identified himself as a longtime friend told The Associated Press. Tran offered to teach the new women in both clubs how to dance for free so that he could have a partner.

Tran was constantly distrustful and paranoid and regularly complained that people in clubs didn’t like him, according to a former friend who requested anonymity to talk about Tran because he wanted to avoid media attention.

“He was always suspicious of everything. He just didn’t trust people at all,” the friend said. “He always complained to me that the instructors … kept their distance from him, and from what he said, many people slandered him.”

Investigators also looked into reports Tran made twice this month to police in the city where he lived that family members tried to poison him, deceived and stole from him ten or two years ago in the Los Angeles area, a spokesman said. Police Hemet Alan Reyes. Associated Press. Tran never returned with the documents he promised to provide.

“Our investigators will look at all of these factors to find out if they contributed to the madness that occurred,” Luna told reporters.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies ransacked Tran’s home at a gated nursing home in Hemet, just over an hour from the site of the massacre.

Officers found a .308 rifle, an unknown number of bullets, and evidence that he made homemade firearm silencers that muffle the sound of guns.

Tran lived in The Lakes at Hemet West, a gated community along a busy road overlooking the snow-capped mountains. The complex has a par-3 golf course, a shuffleboard court and a dance floor. The value of the property for sale ranged from $45,000 to $222,000.

A neighbor, Pat Roth, told Los Angeles television station KNBC that Tran said he was a former ballroom dance instructor and occasionally showed up at dances in the senior community.

“You know, it doesn’t look like he hurt a fly. He wasn’t a big guy,” Roth said. He was petting your dog when you passed by.

According to Reyes, Hemet police have no record of any incidents involving Tran in the community or calls to duty at his home.

Authorities have said little about Tran, who owned a trucking company in Monterey Park from 2002 to 2004, according to California business documents.

According to Luna, he was once arrested for illegal possession of a firearm in 1990 and had a limited criminal record. The sheriff could not immediately tell if he was prohibited from arresting weapons at a time when firearms laws were different.

Tran’s ex-wife told CNN they got married shortly after they met at the Star Ballroom, where he offered to teach her how to dance for free. According to her, he was upset if she missed a step in the dance, but he never showed cruelty to her.

They divorced five years later, citing irreconcilable differences, Los Angeles Supreme Court records show. The couple had no children, stated that they had no common property, and neither party should pay child support.

Although her name is mentioned in court documents, she asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the case.

According to the Los Angeles coroner’s office, the dead were Diana Thom, 70, Muoi Ung, 67, Mai Nhan, 65, Lillian Li, 63, Hong Jian, 62, and Xiujuan Yu, 57. They were: Chia Yau, 76; Ming Ma, 72; Yu Cao, 72; Valentino Alvero, 68; and Wen Yu, 64.

Tran might have killed many more were it not for the heroism of Brandon Tsai, who was working at a dance club in the nearby Alhambra, when Tran walked in about 20 minutes after the Monterey Park massacre.

Cai quickly reacted and disarmed Tran in a brief fight caught on a security camera in the Lai Lai Ballroom.

“This man was cocking the hammer,” said his father, Tom Tsai, co-owner of the studio. “He saw an opportunity and just jumped at it.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom met on Monday with Tsai, 26, who works part-time at a dance club founded by his grandparents, and said he is a true hero.

“This remarkable young man who without any hesitation – albeit with moments of fear – took it upon himself to save countless lives,” Newsom said. “Who knows how many lives he saved.”

Brandon Cey said he was proud of his actions, but did not want to discuss them in order to focus on the victims.

“Some of these people I know personally,” Tsai said grimly outside his family’s home. They come to our studio. It’s a close-knit community and I hope they can recover from this tragic event.”

Thaksin reported from Hemet, Dazio reported from the Alhambra, and Melli reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press journalists Alanna Durkin Reacher of Boston, Christopher Weber, John Antczak and Robert Jablon of Los Angeles, and Julie Watson of San Diego contributed to this report.

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