Three people who knew him told CNN that the man who shot and killed 10 people at a Southern California dance studio used to frequent the venue and even saw his ex-wife there.
Huu Can Tran, 72, opened fire Saturday night at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park in the Los Angeles suburbs and shot himself Sunday after a manhunt in the area, police said.
His ex-wife said in an interview that she met Tran about two decades ago at the dance studio, a popular community gathering place where he taught informal classes. She said Tran saw her at the dance, introduced himself and offered her free lessons.
The pair married shortly after they met, according to the ex-wife, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case. While Tran was never violent towards her, she said he could get angry quickly. For example, she said he would be upset if she missed the tap dance because he thought it made him look bad. She said that after a few years together, she felt he had lost interest in her. Her sister, who also did not want to be named, corroborated her account.
It’s unclear how often, if ever, Tran has been to the ballroom in recent years.
Tran filed for divorce in late 2005, and a judge granted the divorce the following year, Los Angeles court records show.
Tran is an immigrant from China, according to a copy of his marriage certificate shown to CNN by his ex-wife.
5 minutes drive from his home: Another longtime acquaintance of Tran’s also remembers his regular presence at the dance studio. The friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity when he was close to Tran in the late 2000s and early 2010s, said Tran drove about 5 minutes from his home in San Gabriel to the Star Ballroom Dance Studio almost every night.”
Tran used to complain that the ballroom coaches didn’t like him and said “bad things about him,” the friend recalled, adding that Tran was “very hostile to a lot of people there.”
More generally, Tran was easily irritated, complained a lot and seemed distrustful, the friend said.
Tran sometimes worked as a truck driver, according to his ex-wife.
Business records show that Tran registered a business called Tran’s Trucking Inc. in California in 2002. But he dissolved the company about two years later, writing in a corporate filing that it had never acquired any known assets or incurred any known debts or liabilities.
Bought a mobile home in Hemet: In 2013, Tran sold the San Gabriel home he had owned for more than 20 years, property records show.
Seven years later, records show, Tran purchased a mobile home in a seniors community in Hemet, Calif., a remote suburb about 85 miles east of Los Angeles.
Tran’s friend said he hadn’t seen Tran in years and was “shocked” when he heard about the shooting.
“I know a lot of people, if they go to Star Studio, they go there a lot,” the friend said, adding that he was “worried that I might know some” of the shooting victims.