California mass shooting: Suspect dead after killing 10 and injuring at least 10 others

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By Euronews  with AFP
An hours-long manhunt led police to surround and enter the van where the suspect shot himself, according to authorities.
An hours-long manhunt led police to surround and enter the van where the suspect shot himself, according to authorities.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The gunman who killed 10 people and injured at least 10 others at a ballroom in California on Sunday during a Lunar New Year celebration is now dead, according to authorities.

The suspect's body was found inside the van which authorities said he used to flee after attempting a second shooting on Sunday. The man, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a standoff with police some 34.5 kilometres from the scene of the shooting, was identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran.

He was described by local police as an "Asian male", but not much more is as of yet known about him. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said there was no other suspect at large, as the man is thought to have acted alone.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department via AP
The suspect, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a standoff with police.Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department via AP

In a news conference early on Monday, Luna said the motive for the shooting remained unclear. He had previously stated that police could not rule out that the attack was racially motivated.

“We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime defined by law,” Luna said speaking to reporters on Sunday, “but who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people?”

The attack happened inside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in California's Monterey Park, about 13km east of Los Angeles. The city is home to a large Asian community. 

Captain Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said people were “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived at the venue around 10:30 p.m. local time. 

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
10 people were killed in a mass shooting on Sunday in a city east of Los Angeles following a Lunar New Year celebration that attracted thousands, police said.AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The victims' identities have not yet been disclosed by authorities, but all are believed to be between 50 and 60 years old. Luna detailed that five men and five women died at the scene, while the injured were in conditions ranging from "stable to critical". At least seven remain hospitalised.

After the shooting in the heart of Monterey Park, where thousands of people were gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the gunman attempted a second attack at the Lai Lai Ballroom in the nearby city of Alhambra. The attempt was thwarted by people who wrestled the weapon away from the man. 

The suspect then fled into the van in which he was later found by police in Torrance, another community in the region home to many Asian Americans.

Euronews journalists are working on the story and will update as more information comes in.