A review of what is known about the two massacres that occurred in less than 48 hours in California

A Review Of What Is Known About The Two Massacres That Occurred In Less Than 48 Hours In California

Los Angeles – In less than 48 hours, two gunmen carried out open firefights on both ends of California, incidents that left 18 dead and 10 wounded.

Unrelated massacres at a dance hall in a Los Angeles suburb on Saturday night and at a pair of mushroom farms south of San Francisco on Monday dealt a heavy blow to a state that has some of the world’s most most severe firearms in the country and the lowest death rates caused by such weapons.

As their communities mourned the tragedies, several Democratic politicians repeated calls for stricter gun controls at the federal level.


Here are some facts about the shootings:

What happened in Monterey Park?

Hours after the city of Monterey Park held a huge Lunar New Year celebration, a gunman stormed the Star Dance ballroom and shot 20 people, killing 11. Police arrived within minutes at a scene of chaos and carnage as people ran from the club in terror and others lay on the dance floor or slumped in chairs by tables. The victims were Asian-Americans, mostly over the age of 60.

The assailant, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, then drove to the Lai Lai dance hall in nearby Alhambra, where, according to police, he attempted to carry out a similar attack about 20 minutes later. He was met inside the gate by employee Brandon Tsay, who disarmed Tran during a brief struggle.

Tran then fled in a white van. He was later found dead in it on Sunday morning from a self-inflicted gunshot.

The incident cast a shadow over typically joyous New Year’s celebrations and reignited fears in Asian American communities about rising hate and violence directed at them.

What happened in Half Moon Bay?

A farm worker, who had told a television reporter Thursday that his complaints about acts of intimidation and long work hours were ignored, shot five co-workers Monday, killing four, at a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay, authorities reported. He then drove to a nearby farm where he used to work and killed three more people.

Chunli Zhao, 66, admitted to KNTV-TV that he carried out the massacre, saying he had battled mental illness and was not in his right mind at the time. Later, he turned himself in to the police, was arrested and held without bail.

Five of the victims were of Asian descent and three were Hispanic. All but two were in their 60s and 70-somethings.

Whats Next?

Zhao faces a hearing on February 16 in San Mateo County Superior Court, where he will face seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. The detainee could face the death penalty if convicted.

Detectives continue to investigate the shootings.

There is most likely no criminal case for the incident in Los Angeles County, since Tran died and authorities have indicated that he acted alone. However, the investigation continues into what led Tran to commit the massacre. So far, the Los Angeles police have not determined the motive.

An old friend revealed to The Associated Press that Tran frequented both dance halls he later broke into, that he was suspicious and paranoid and said people were talking bad about him. The man, who asked not to be named so as not to draw attention to himself, said Tran dreamed of being a dance teacher and offered free lessons to women with the intention of having a partner, and that he felt he was avoided by real instructors.

But Police Chief Robert Luna said there was no evidence that Tran knew any of the people he killed, and that he had not been to the ballroom in the past five years.

Detectives are also investigating complaints Tran filed twice this month with police in the town where he lived, alleging that members of his family had tried to poison, swindle and rob him a decade or two ago. The man never backed up his claims with documentation that he promised to provide.

How did they get the firearms?

Zhao, a Chinese immigrant with permanent residence, told KNTV that he bought his gun in 2021 without any difficulties.

Authorities have said he bought the semi-automatic pistol legally, but did not provide further details.

Tran, who was originally from Vietnam, bought the submachine-style semiautomatic pistol he used in Monterey Park in 1999, the police chief said. The weapon and high-capacity magazine are illegal in California and were not registered with the state.

He fired at least 42 shots from the MAC-10 semi-automatic pistol variant, taking time to reload its 30-round magazine.

The semiautomatic pistol Tran used to kill himself was registered, as was a rifle found at his home in Hemet, about 70 miles from Monterey Park, according to Luna.

Tran’s criminal record only included a 1990 arrest for illegal possession of a firearm.

Why did the Police take so long to notify the population?

Authorities in southern California have defended their decision not to alert the public for more than five hours that a killer was on the loose after the ballroom shooting and subsequent botched attack.

Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said police in the region were alerted and there was no point in warning residents at night in the predominantly Asian-American city even though a potentially armed suspect remained on the run.

“I’m not going to send my agents door to door waking people up and telling them we’re looking for an Asian man in Monterey Park,” Wiese told the AP. “He’s not going to help us at all.”

Luna, who is leading the investigation, said his department’s decision on when to release information was “strategic” but vowed to review the timetable.

Experts say that the authorities should have alerted the population earlier.

Who is the hero that I foiled the other shooting in Los Angeles?

Tsay has been praised for his heroic act which saved many lives.

US President Joe Biden thanked him by phone on Thursday for “taking such an incredible action in the face of danger.”

“You are America,” Biden stressed in a video posted on Twitter. “You are what we are. America has never backed down. We have always stepped up because of people like you.”

Tsay, 26, whose family owns the club, said she takes comfort from Biden’s words.

Alhambra police plan to award him a medal of valor on Sunday as part of the city’s Lunar New Year Festival, the Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday.

Although Tsay said he was proud of what he did, he refused to speak further about his actions in order to keep the focus on those who lost their lives and those who were injured.

“I want everyone to focus on the victims of this tragic incident, not to pay too much attention to me,” he said.



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