Monterey Park shooting 911 calls capture fear, panic and chaos
Heartbreaking recordings of 911 calls released Thursday by officials provide insight into the panic and chaos that unfolded when a gunman opened fire on a dance studio in Monterey Park, California last month.
Dozens of clients filled the studio for a Lunar New Year celebration on Jan. 21. But at 10:21 p.m., a 911 call was made by a man in the parking lot, according to the Los Angeles Times. The man frantically explained to the dispatcher that his girlfriend had been shot through the windshield of the car as they left the party.
The call was transferred to a Monterey Park Fire Department dispatcher, who spoke with the man.
Dispatcher: “Is she awake?” Can she talk to you?
Man: “My God, can you talk to me? No, she can’t talk.
Dispatcher: “OK, is she breathing? Taking breaths?”
Man: “Oh, no. Maybe she’s dead. I’m not sure.”
The man’s girlfriend, Mymy Nhan, 65, was one of 11 people killed in the shooting. Several others were injured.
Another 911 call came in at 10:22 p.m. from a man saying someone was spinning in the dance studio. He said the gunfire started “just two minutes ago” and the shooter was “reloading”.
“Can you see if anyone is hurt?” asked the dispatcher.
“I don’t know,” the man said, adding that “everyone ran away.”
The man said the shooter was male but could not provide further description as he was not close enough.
“I thought he was using fireworks, I mean firecrackers,” he said. “Still a lot of people outside the building now. Then you better send the police.
According to Time, patrons were fleeing the studio when officers from the Monterey Park Police Department arrived on the scene. The shooter was gone, but five hours passed before authorities alerted the public that a shooter was on the loose.
The shooter drove two miles away to another location, the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio, The New York Times reports. Ballroom operator Brandon Tsay said he saw the man standing in the ballroom and pointing a gun at him. Tsay attacked and disarmed him, potentially averting another massacre.
The following day, the suspect, identified by authorities as Huu Can Tran, was found dead in his van 30 miles away with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The incident was among the deadliest in 52 mass shootings occurred in the United States during the first month of the year. Less than 48 hours after the Monterey Park murdersCalifornia saw an additional massacre at Half Moon Bay, which left seven people dead.
According BNC NewsOfficials said the Monterey Park suspect’s motive remains unclear, as no links have been found between him and the shooting victims.