SoCal Mass Shooter Believed His Family Was Poisoning Him

This story was originally published on Jan. 23 by the Vietnamese language newspaper Nguoi Viet News. We are republishing an English language translation here with their permission.

Tran Huu Can, 72, who killed 11 people at a dance hall in Monterey Park on the eve of Lunar New Year, arrived at the Hemet, California Police Department two weeks earlier, alleging that his family had plotted to poison him about 10 to 20 years ago, police said Jan. 23.

Can visited HPD on Jan. 7 and 9, alleging that his family in the Los Angeles area plotted poisoning, fraud and theft, said Alan Reyes, a Hemet city spokesman.

“The suspect declared he will return to HPD and bring documents related to his allegations, but he never returned,” Reyes said.

HPD has no further information about those allegations or who in the family he believes was trying to harm him, Reyes said. Both times he went to HPD, suspect Can talked to the police in the hallway.

Hunting Rifles Found

Also on Jan. 23, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced that when searching the suspect’s home in Hemet, they found a rifle commonly used by hunters.

LASD searched Can’s home around 9 p.m. Sunday and announced it had found a 0.308-inch rifle – a gun commonly used by deer, bear and boar hunters – a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds, hundreds of 0.308 inch bullets and materials to make a firearm silencer.

Names of the victims

Valentino Alvero, male, 68

Hong Jian, female, 62,

Yu Kao, male, 72

Lilian Li, female, 63

My Nhan, female, 65

Ming Ma, male, 72

Diana Tom, female, 70

Muoi Ung, female, 67

Chia Yau, male, 76

Wen Yu, male, 64

Xiujuan Yu, female, 57

Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

Authorities did not say whether the rifle was registered with the suspect.

Police also confiscated electronic devices, such as cell phones and computers, from his home, officials said.

Dance Studio Massacre

The massacre occurred Jan. 21 at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on West Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park as many Asians were preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Initially, only 10 people died, and 10 were injured. By Monday morning, one more person had died. Most of the people who died were around 60 or 70 years old, with only one person around 50.

Immediately after the shooting, suspect Can went to the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, but was crushed by some people to take the semi-automatic gun.

The suspect then drove a van down to Torrance, about 30 miles south of Monterey Park, and while surrounded by police, killed himself around 10:30 a.m. Jan. 22, police said.

Tran Huu Can is an immigrant from China to the United States, based on divorce records that his ex-wife showed CNN. However, according to a naturalization dossier filed on June 13, 1990, Mr. Can’s birthplace is Vietnam.

Can lived in a mobile home in The Lakes mobile park community on the western edge of Hemet. It is not clear how long he lived there.The suspect often danced at the Star Ballroom.

As of Jan. 24 morning, police still did not know why the suspect opened fire.

Domestic Dispute?

Can got angry easily, his ex-wife said, requesting anonymity. However, she said he never beat her. In 2005, he filed for divorce, and the following year, the proceedings were completed. The divorce was filed in Los Angeles County.

Suspect Can was arrested in 1990 for illegal gun possession, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

No Prior Arrests

He does not appear to have a criminal record or involvement in civil or family litigation in Riverside County. Nor does he appear to be involved in any criminal, civil or bankruptcy cases.

Public records show he lived in condos in Glendale and Duarte, homes in San Gabriel and Monterey Park, and elsewhere.

Business records show that Can once registered a company called Tran’s Trucking Inc. in California in 2002. Two years later, he dissolved the company, and said the company had never purchased assets or had any debt.

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