The gunman who killed 11 people at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, parked a motorcycle near the dance hall as an alternative getaway vehicle the day of the shooting and had no known connection with the victims, the Los Angeles County sheriff said Wednesday.
“As of today, based on the interviews that investigators are still conducting, they have not been able to establish a connection between the suspect and any of the victims thus far,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference Wednesday.
Luna also said authorities believe the gunman, identified as Huu Can Tran, 72, had not visited the studio in the last five years.
“We do not believe the suspect has frequented the dance studio in the last five years,” Luna said. “Based on the statements we have, he hasn’t been there in five years.”
Luna added that the suspect was unmarried and investigators have been unable “to tie him romantically to any of the victims so far.”
Authorities continue to search for a motive behind the shooting.
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Investigators were able to recover three firearms, according to Luna.
A Cobray firearm, commonly known as a MAC-10, is believed to be the weapon used to carry out the deadly shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio and later recovered in Alhambra, California, where an employee confronted and disarmed the suspect, Luna said. The weapon, which was not registered in the state of California, was purchased by the suspect in Monterey Park in 1999, Luna added.
The two other weapons, a pistol used by the suspect to take his own life and a rifle that was found in his home in Hemet, California, were registered, Luna confirmed.
Luna announced that Monterey Park Police officers recovered a motorcycle near the dance studio that was registered to the gunman. Investigators determined that the motorcycle was parked near the scene prior to the shooting.
“Investigators believe it was placed there by the suspect as an alternative getaway vehicle,” Luna said. He later addressed reports of possible relationships between the suspect and individuals at the dance hall.
“The suspect was not married,” Luna said. “We have not been able to tie him in, romantically, to any of the victims so far.”
Tran, who was of Vietnamese descent and lived in Hong Kong, had been in the US for seven or eight years, The Associated Press reported. His only known criminal history was a 1990 arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm but there was no indication of a conviction.
The shooting Saturday occurred just an hour or so after tens of thousands of people attended Lunar New Year festivities in the city. The public was not notified of the mass shooting for five hours, raising questions about why an alert was not sent to people in the area.
Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese, who was sworn in as chief two days before the shooting, said police were piecing together information from some 40 witnesses, including many who did not speak English, and did not want to broadcast incorrect information. He said notifying other local, state and federal agencies gave them the ability to get the word out.
Contributing: The Associated Press