The death toll in the Lunar New Year mass shooting in Monterey Park rose Monday to 11, after one person who had been injured in the massacre died at the hospital.
All victims were in their 50s, 60s or 70s, according to the Los Angeles County coroner.
Four were identified Monday by officials: My Nhan, 65; Lilan Li, 63; Xiujuan Yu, 57; and Valentino Alvero, 68.
Family and friends have identified two others as Ming Wei Ma, whose age was not immediately available, and Nancy Liu, 63.
Nine others were injured in the Saturday-night shooting inside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park — a city at the heart of the local Chinese community — just an hour after a Lunar New Year festival had concluded nearby.
Soon after, the shooter entered a second dance studio, Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in Alhambra, and was disarmed before fleeing.
The suspected gunman, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, was found Sunday in a white van in Torrance, where he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
On Monday, officials at LAC+USC Medical Center announced that one of the four victims being treated there had died.
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we are saddened to share that one of the victims has succumbed to their extensive injuries,” said Jorge Orozco, the hospital’s chief executive. “We want to express our deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones.”
The medical center said that a 73-year-old woman who had been injured in the shooting was discharged Monday. Two others were still at the hospital, one in serious condition.
Officials “remain hopeful for their recoveries,” Orozco said in a statement.
Among the fatalities, authorities have not yet identified two women, one in her 60s and one in her 70s, and three men in their 60s or 70s. The condition of the six others who were injured was not known Monday.
Fonda Quan on Monday remembered Nhan, her aunt — who was known as Mymy — as charming, cheerful and someone who always saw the good in others.
Nhan was leaving her usual dance class when she was killed. She had decided to go home early to set up the family shrine to pay homage to ancestors for Lunar New Year’s Eve but was met by the gunman as she drove away, Quan said.
The gunman approached the driver’s side of the car as Nhan and her dance partner were backing out of the studio, Quan said. Nhan was shot multiple times before the gunman entered the ballroom. Her partner, who was in the passenger seat, was not shot, Quan said, and didn’t recognize the gunman.
After family members received a call from the coroner that Nhan had died, they went to the scene of the shooting.
“It’s gut-wrenching to have that set in,” said Quan, 32, who lived with her aunt. “It’s been difficult to process.”
Nhan was from Ho Chi Minh City and immigrated with her family to Rosemead in the 1980s. She loved ballroom dancing and fashion, Quan said.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Quan said. “Good things don’t always happen to good people.”
In a statement on Twitter, Nhan’s family said she had gone to the Monterey Park dance studio on weekends for years.
“It’s what she loved to do,” the statement read. “But unfairly, Saturday was her last dance.”
Nhan’s longtime instructor Maksym Kapitanchuk said she breathed life into the dance studio.
“She would bring to every class five, 10, 20 new people,” Kapitanchuk said. “I really don’t know how I’m going to handle it right now, teaching without her.”
Another dance teacher, Elena Krifuks of Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio, said she would lean on Nhan to get the word out about showcases and other events.
“She had everyone’s phone numbers, and she was friends with everyone,” Krifkus said.
Nhan’s family described her warm smile and contagious kindness.
“We are starting the Lunar New Year broken. We never imagined her life would end so suddenly,” the statement said.
Alvero also liked to dance at Star, said a relative who declined to be identified.
The relative, who learned of the shooting from TV Sunday morning, said people were trying to call Alvero, but he wasn’t responding.
Alvero was married and had two children in their 30s.
“He was a cheerful guy,” the relative said. “He wants to dance or sing.”
Friends of Ma identified him as a longtime employee and dancer at Star.
Dariusz Michalski, an instructor, stopped to compose himself when speaking about his student of several years, who helped manage the studio and was affectionately known as Mr. Ma.
“It was heartbreaking,” Michalski said. “We are just speechless and cannot find the words to describe how we feel right now.”
David DuVal, another instructor, was hired by Ma nearly a decade ago.
“He loved what he did,” he said.
Ma moved with his wife to the U.S. from China, where they had been part of a “semi-famous” dance group, according to DuVal.
Grace, a woman in her 50s, said Ma was acting as DJ at the dance studio Saturday night when the gunman entered. The song that was playing was “Light Rain in March,” she said. There were between 12 and 20 people dancing, Grace estimated.
“At the time, I was frightened and hid under a table in the corner of the hall, so I didn’t see many things,” she said.
In a Facebook post, Lauren Woods, another dance instructor, called “Mr. Ma” the “heart” of the studio, writing that he “was everything at Star and we were always so connected with him.”
When Ma saw her, she wrote, he would say, “my teacher,” kiss her cheeks and say, “Love you! Love you!”
Lily Ko has taken a class at Star every Tuesday for two years. Ma was a familiar sight; she would see him teaching another class.
“He was an excellent dancer,” she said.
When Ma saw her group dance, he would tell them it was “very great, very excellent.”
Ko described him as “humorous and considerate” and said he would walk her to her car after class at night.
“He made sure I was safe,” she recalled.
Qiang Bjornbak, a Rosemead lawyer, described Ma as a social connector whose death has sent shockwaves through the San Gabriel Valley Chinese community.
“He knows so many people,” Bjornbak said of her friend, describing how warm messages about him have flooded Chinese WeChat groups.
Bjornbak got to know Ma through Chinese social events and had taken a handful of dance lessons at the studio. He was immensely talented and kind, she said, and “super, super friendly.”
“My mom is gone. She never made it out of the dance studio,” Blees wrote. “My family is devastated especially my dad.”
On Sunday, Blees tweeted that her dad was wounded in the shooting and that her mother was missing. Her father was later discharged from the hospital with wounds that were not life-threatening.
Alyce Harley’s mother, Marlene Xu, has been going to Star Ballroom Dance Studio for seven years. It was a place for the 67-year-old to celebrate holidays and see friends.
Xu was not at Star on Saturday night, but many of those she knew were, her daughter said in an interview with The Times.
“Earlier this morning, she told me one of the classmates in a Latin ballroom class, someone she shared snacks and stories with, is now dead,” Harley said. “She is really, really struggling.”
Star was a sanctuary for Xu, who immigrated from China and found a sense of belonging at the studio, Harley said.
“Folks like my mother and many other immigrants were able to partake in something very Western without it feeling very foreign to them,” Harley said. “They could feel like they could take part in the arts without feeling like they were ‘othered’ or feeling like they were left out. That’s really key. That’s what Star Ballroom was.”