California staggered by deadly back-to-back mass shootings

MONTEREY PARK, Calif., Jan 24 (Reuters) – Just two days after a gunman killed 11 people at a Los Angeles dance club, seven more victims were shot in a farm near San Francisco. , while California suffered one of its own. the deadliest outbreak of mass gun violence in decades.

The authorities said that they have not yet determined the motive behind these crimes. The attacks seemed particularly surprising because the suspects in each were men of retirement age, much older than is typical of the mass shootings that have become the norm in the United States. .

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he was visiting injured survivors of Saturday night’s massacre in Los Angeles’ Monterey Park when he was informed of Monday’s killings in northern California.

“Tragedy upon tragedy,” Newsom wrote on Twitter.

Otherwise, the back shot seemed to have nothing of the sort.

The latest shooting spree hit the coastal town of Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles south of San Francisco, where a gunman opened fire on groups of farm workers in two separate locations. in two kilometers, leaving seven dead and one seriously wounded. then he ran away.

The accused gunman, identified as Chunli Zhao, 67, was arrested shortly after he was found sitting in his car, parked outside the sheriff’s station, where authorities say they believe that he came to show himself.

An automatic handgun was found in his car, San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus told an evening news conference.

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Corpus said the suspect, who was “fully cooperative” with investigators after his arrest, acted in one of the two crime scenes. He described the areas as “agricultural centers” where some workers lived. Local media reported one site was a mushroom farm.

President Joe Biden said in a statement on Tuesday that he had been informed by his homeland security team of the shooting in Half Moon Bay and had directed his administration to ensure that local authorities had support from the government. of the corporation.

“While we await more information about these shootings, we know that the epidemic of gun violence across America requires strong action,” he said, calling on Congress to restore the ban on assault weapons. government.

In a separate incident in the Bay Area on Monday evening that received much less attention, one person was killed and seven were injured in a “shootout between several people” in Oakland, police reported. , in circumstances suggesting a case of gang violence. The police gave few details, but said that the victims who survived have all taken themselves to local hospitals.

News of the Half Moon Bay massacre came as police entered the second full day of their investigation into the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, east of downtown Los Angeles. where a gunman shot 11 people to death. Nine others were injured.

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Authorities say the suspect, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, drove by a nearby town and entered a second dance hall but was confronted by an employee of the club, who fought back with a weapon during the short confusion.

Tran, a longtime patron of Star Ballroom, which catered primarily to classical dance enthusiasts, ran away again and disappeared that night.

He shot himself to death in his parked pickup truck on Sunday morning, about 12 hours after his attack, as police surrounded him in downtown Torrance. , south of Los Angeles, officials said.

LETHAL REPORT

Saturday’s violence took place during a Chinese New Year celebration in Monterey Park, a center for the Asian-American community in Southern California, prompting concerns that the attack may be racially motivated. The second day of the event was cancelled.

It ranked as the deadliest shooting ever in Los Angeles County, according to Hilda Solis, a member of the county’s Board of Supervisors.

By comparison, the 1984 massacre of 21 people at a McDonald’s restaurant in San Diego stands as the greatest loss of life in a single shooting incident on record in California.

The two recent shootings were also known by the ages of the suspects, one in his 60s, the other in his 70s.

The list of 185 shootings between 1966 and 2022 tracked by the non-violent non-violence project includes only one by someone 70 or older – a retired miner who killed five people in Kentucky in 1981.

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When responding to a fire at a Monterey Park ballpark, investigators collected 42 bullet casings and a large-capacity handgun magazine from the scene, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters. news on Monday.

He said a search of the suspect’s home in a senior living area in Hemet, 80 miles east of Los Angeles, turned up a gun, electronic devices and items “that lead us to believe that the suspect was making his own home” weapon silencers. Police also seized hundreds of rounds of ammunition from the residence and a handgun from the suspect’s vehicle.

Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said investigators were looking into unconfirmed reports that the violence may have been motivated by jealousy or relationship problems.

Adam Hood, who rented a house from Tran in the Los Angeles area, told Reuters his landlord enjoyed ballroom dancing and used to frequent the Star Ballroom, although he complained about that others there were talking behind.

“He didn’t trust the people in the studio, he was angry and distrustful. I think he just had enough,” Hood said.

Reporting by Tim Reid in Monterey Park and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, Calif.; Additional writing and reporting by Steve Gorman of Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Rich McKay, Gabriella Borter, Brendan O’Brien, Brad Brooks, Jonathan Allen, Joseph Ax, Dan Whitcomb and Timothy Gardner; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore and Chizu Nomiyama

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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