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Suspect in US dance club shooting dead

Body found in search for suspect in LA shooting

The suspect in a California dance club shooting that killed 10 people has been found dead, authorities say.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the man shot himself on Sunday as police officers closed in on the van he had used to flee the scene of an attempted second shooting.

Mr Luna identified the suspect at 72-year-old Huu Can Tran. He said no other suspects were at large.

Police surrounded the van with tactical vehicles and bomb squad trucks for hours before going in.

Mr Luna previously released photos of an Asian man who was believed to be the suspect, but he did not release the man’s name.

The manhunt came after a gunman killed 10 people at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio late on Saturday at Lunar New Year celebrations in the predominantly Asian American community of Monterey Park.

He likely tried and failed to target a second dance hall in nearby Alhambra, authorities said.

Two of the people at the hall wrestled a gun away him, and the man fled. The weapon was later seized by police, and reported to be a Cobray M11 nine-millimetre semi-automatic.

“The suspect went to the Alhambra location after he conducted the shooting [in Monterey Park], and he was disarmed by two community members who I consider to be heroes,” Mr Luna said.

“They saved lives. This could’ve been much worse. The weapon that we recovered at that second scene I am describing as a magazine-fed semiautomatic assault pistol. Not an assault rifle, but an assault pistol that had an extended large capacity magazine attached to it.”

The Cobray M11 is designed to take 30-round magazines that allow for rapid fire without having to frequently change magazines.

“I believe the weapon … is not legal to have here in the state of California,” Mr Luna said.

Law enforcement sources told CNN that Mr Tran’s name and description emerged when police traced the weapon.

Mr Luna did not say whether authorities had confirmed that the Cobray M11 was the weapon used in the deadly Monterey Park shooting.

That shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio left five women and five men dead and wounded another 10 people.

Then about half an hour later, a man with a gun entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra.

Authorities believe the two events are connected. They offered no details about a possible motive.

Hours earlier, Mr Luna said authorities were looking for a white van after witnesses reported seeing the suspect flee from Alhambra in such a vehicle.

It was found in Torrance, another community home to many Asian Americans, about 30 kilometres away. Members of a SWAT team entered the van a short time later.

The shooting sent a wave of fear through Asian American communities in the Los Angeles area and cast a shadow over Lunar New Year festivities across the US. Other cities sent extra officers to watch over the celebrations.

The massacre was US’s fifth mass killing this month. It was also the deadliest attack since May 24, when 21 people were killed in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people on the eastern edge of Los Angeles and is composed mostly of Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans.

The shooting happened downtown where red lanterns decorated the streets for the Lunar New Year festivities. A police car was parked near a large banner that proclaimed “Happy Year of the Rabbit!”

The celebration in Monterey Park is one of California’s largest. Two days of festivities, which have been attended by as many as 100,000 people in past years, were planned. But officials cancelled Sunday’s events following the shooting.

Chester Chong, chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, described Monterey Park as a quiet, peaceful, beautiful city where everybody knew each other and helped each other.

“People were calling me last night, they were scared this was a hate crime,” Mr Chong said.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

– with AAP

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