Recently surfaced video shows dancers practicing at the Monterey Park dance studio attacked by a 72-year-old gunman Saturday night – just hours before the first shots rang out.
The chilling footage, posted by an acquaintance of a man who had been at Star Dance Studio shortly before the mass shooting, which police said was carried out by disgruntled instructor Huu Can Tran.
In the post, pro ballroom dancer Deborah Fields Perez wrote how one of her instructors’ husbands recorded the short clip – which shows children dancing from a vestibule leading into the studio Saturday night at roughly 6pm.
Roughly four hours later, Tran would storm the facility with a handgun, indiscriminately firing on the dancers unfortunate enough to be in attendance.
Recently surfaced video shows dancers practicing at the Monterey Park dance studio attacked by a 72-year-old gunman Saturday night – just hours before the massacre
The chilling footage, posted by an acquaintance of a man who had been at Star Dance Studio shortly before the mass shooting, which police said was carried out by a disgruntled instructor
Luckily, Fields Perez said, her teacher’s husband – who has four children of his own – left the studio shortly before the tragedy, narrowly avoiding becoming one of Tran’s 11 victims in the process.
The footage, posted by the professional dancer on Sunday night, came shortly after Tran, who slaughtered 11 people during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations at the ballroom was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a van he used to flee the scene of a second, would-be shooting thwarted by a ‘hero’ 26-year-old.
Shortly after, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the shooter as 72-year-old Can Tran, who himself was once a dancer at the studio, and had since become a ‘regular’ patron.
The motive for the attack is still unclear, with police offering sparse details on the shooter and even less information on his victims, only two of which – My Nhan, 65, and 63-year-old Lilan Li – have been named
Police sources, however, have said there is increasing evidence Tran was motivated by jealousy, following a rumored domestic dispute with his ex-wife, whom he met at the studio.
In the post, pro ballroom dancer Deborah Fields Perez (pictured) wrote how one of her instructors’ husbands recorded the short clip
A professional dancer, Fields Perez shared the post shortly after the suspect killed himself after fatally shooting 11 during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations at the ballroom
Two other women killed in the massacre had been in their 60s, police said Monday. Another was in her 50s. In total, six women and five men were killed, with three of the men being in their 70s and two in their 60s, local coroners said.
How the massacre and manhunt unfolded
Saturday, 10.22pm: Gunshots ring out in Star Ballroom Dance Studio
10.29pm: 911 responders receive a call about a shooting in Monterey Park
10.33pm: Police and rescue units start to arrive at the scene
10.38pm: Officers say the studio has been ‘cleared’ and there are initially an estimated 10 unresponsive victims and two more in critical condition
10.39pm: Tran enters a second dance hall studio, the Lai Lai ballroom in Alhambra. His weapon is wrestled away from him
Sunday: Gunman reportedly enters a local hospital at an unspecified time with apparent fight injuries. He leaves ER before being treated
10.20am: Police locate white cargo van seen leaving scene of shooting
11.15am: White van in shopping center parking lot is surrounded by police and SWAT
12.30pm: Sheriff’s office say the suspect has barricaded himself in the van
1pm: Police enter the vehicle after Tran shot himself dead. Evidence linking him to the shootings is found in the vehicle
The post from Fields Perez now offers some newfound insight into the still shrouded incident, with photos and video footage offering a glimpse at the inside of the studio just hours before Tran entered, interrupting celebrations that had been underway for the Lunar New Year.
‘Just found out one of my teachers husband was at Star Dance Studio last night,’ wrote Fields Perez Sunday, before disclaiming the unnamed man has four children.
‘Luckily, he had a bad feeling and wanted to leave asap, so he did,’ the pro dancer went on to add. ‘Here are a few pics he took around 6pm last night just before the party started.’
Attached to the post, Fields Perez included a photo of several dancers engaged in what appeared to be a practice session on the ballroom floor, as well as footage of the group filmed from the establishment’s lobby, adjacent to the dance studio.
None of the dancers in the footage were identified by Fields Perez. It is not clear if they were among those present a few hours later, when the establishment was reportedly packed to the brim.
Shortly after the shooting, after a short standoff with police, Tran was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a van he used to flee a second ballroom set two miles away.
Aside from teaching dance nearly five times a week, Tran was also a truck driver and registered a business, Tran’s Trucking Inc., from 2002 to 2004, according to documents obtained by CNN.
It’s unclear when Tran stopped teaching lessons at the studio, but he relocated to Hemet in 2013 after about 20 years in Los Angeles.
Tran’s friend lost contact with the gunman around the time he moved and was shocked to hear about the massacre.
The footage was filmed from a vestibule looking into the studio Saturday night at roughly 6pm
Tran taught lessons at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio almost every night in the early 2000s when he lived five-minutes away in the San Gabriel Valley
The friend also recalled Tran being quick to anger and didn’t trust people.
Tran’s ex-wife, whose identity wasn’t revealed, said she was only married to the gunman for a short time before he filed for divorce in 2005.
She recalled the first time she met Tran and he offered her free dance lessons.
Tran’s love appeared to fade quickly as she claimed her former instructor lost interest in her and became easily angered when she messed up on choreography.
Their marriage license showed that Tran is an immigrant from China.
Huu Can Tran, 72, had taught lessons at the studio prior to carrying out the killings. He also met his ex-wife at the studio
Multiple casualties were reported after the shooting in California during New Year celebrations
Police can be seen on Sunday swarming the van Tran used to flee after he killed six women and five men – and wounded another 10
He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the van he used to flee after his attempt at a second shooting that was thwarted by ‘hero’ patrons
The Star Ballroom Dance Studio shooting was only Tran’s first stop Sunday, with the alleged killer only 30 minutes later heading to the Lai Lai Ballroom for what police believe could have been another attack in nearby Alhambra.
However, 26-year-old Brandon Tsay, a part-time staffer at his family’s Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio, was able to disarm the suspect after a brief struggle.
Tran then fled the scene and was at large until Sunday when police found him in the van he used to flee the massacre.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified Tran as the suspect on Sunday and confirmed his motive is unknown.
‘He intended to kill more people,’ Luna said in a news conference on Sunday night. ‘They saved lives,’ he said of the patrons. ‘This could’ve been much worse.’
The exact ages of the victims were not released, but Luna they all appeared to be over 50. Seven of the wounded people remained in the hospital, he said.
Tran was carrying what was described as a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine, and a second handgun was discovered in the van where he was found dead, officials said
Aerial footage shows officials pulling unknown items from the white van after the standoff