‘Somebody’s shooting a gun’: 911 calls for Monterey Park massacre are released

The man on the other end of the phone line sounded frantic.

“Yeah, I want to report,” the man said, gasping for air, “at the Monterey Park …”

“Yes?” the operator asked.

“Star Dance studio … somebody already reported?” the man said, his voice cracking.

“No, what’s going on, sir?” she asked.

“Somebody shooting a gun, shooting people, inside, inside the studio,” he said in between pants. “So, we just came out. …”

The caller described rushing out of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park with other dancers the night of Jan. 21, just after a 72-year-old gunman, authorities would say, had started his rampage.

His call was one of the first that night that began coming in at 10:22 p.m. to report the attack that left 11 people dead and nine others injured — the worst mass shooting in Los Angeles County history.

The audio of the 911 calls received that night, released by the city of Monterey Park on Thursday, Feb. 2, in response to a California Public Records Act request by the Southern California News Group illustrate the chaotic and terrifying moments surrounding the massacre.

The suspected shooter, Huu Can Tran, would later appear at the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, still armed with a semi-automatic pistol, authorities said. There, an employee of the ballroom disarmed Tran, who fled.

Hours later, police in Torrance would catch up to Tran, who shot himself to death inside a van in a strip mall parking lot, authorities said.

The gunman’s motive remains elusive.

The Southern California News Group is reviewing the audio of the calls provided by the police and fire departments and is updating this story.

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