17 people are now confirmed dead in the Monterey Park mass shooting, US officials confirmed Monday night.
The first two victims of Saturday’s massacre in California have been named, while the hero who disarmed the shooter has told how he was sure he was “going to die”.
Huu Can Tran killed 11 people at a Lunar New Year celebration at the Monterey Park Dance Hall before traveling with the weapon to another dance hall ten minutes away in the Alhambra – where a similar event was underway. There Tran was disarmed by Brandon Tse, who was working the hall.
Tran was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a van.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office named 65-year-old Mamie Nhan and 63-year-old Lilan Lee as the victims.
The office said the others – who have not been named – are two women in their 60s, one woman in her 50s, two men in their 60s and three men in their 70s. It has not been confirmed how old the eleventh victim was.
If Mr. Tse, 26, had not seen Tran enter The Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio with a gun, more people could have been killed.
He told Good Morning America, “I knew I needed to get this weapon away from him or else everybody would die.”
“When I got the courage, I rushed towards him with both hands. I grabbed the weapon and we had a fight. We struggled in the lobby, trying to get the guns away from each other.
“He was hitting me in the face, hitting me on the back of the head. I was trying to pry the gun away from him using my elbow. Finally, I was able to wrestle the gun away from him, push him aside, and point the gun at him to scare him.
“I told him, ‘Get out of here, I’ll shoot, get away. Go’.”
“My heart sank, I knew I was going to die,” he told the New York Times.
Tran was described as a frequent visitor to the park but a motive is unclear.
Monterey Park Mayor Henry Low said: “My understanding is that he met his ex-wife at that location several years ago, but we don’t know why he did what he did. Was it an issue of[being]inebriated?” , or was it an issue of domestic violence? We don’t know, unfortunately.
The tragedy is the 36th mass shooting in the US in 2023, where at least four people have died.
Local news reporter Tiffany Liu said on Twitter that Mamie Nahan was a close family friend.
A tribute statement read: “She spent so many years at the dance studio in Monterey Park on the weekends. That’s what she loved to do. But, unfairly, Saturday was her last dance.
“We are starting the Broken Lunar New Year. We never thought that his life would end so suddenly.
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