The shooter in Saturday night’s shooting in Monterey Park, Calif., has been identified by local authorities as a 72-year-old man, making him a rarity in the growing list of mass shootings of the country, who tend to be much younger.
The median age of shooters in mass shootings in the United States over the past six decades is 32, according to the Violence Project, a nonprofit research center funded by the National Institute of Justice. In 2020, there was only one other mass murderer over the age of 70.
Mass shooters tend to “target locations representative of their grievances,” said James Densley, co-founder of the Violence Project and professor at Metro State University’s School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice in Minnesota.
He adds that mass shooters in a school setting are often students. The shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas last year and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 were carried out by former students of the respective schools.
Monterey Park is a predominantly Asian and Asian-American community. Several of the victims of Saturday’s shooting were in their 50s and 60s.
While the average age of a mass shooter is in their early 30s, there are people who commit shootings when they are between their 20s and 40s, reflecting how these attackers can find in “transitional periods” in which “you feel like you don’t belong, and violence follows”, Mr Densley said. He called the Monterey Park shooter an “outlier” when it comes to age.
“The rigid and hegemonic idea of toxic masculinity”
The overwhelming majority of mass shooters mentioned in the Violence Project report were male. This likely reflects social pressure on men to “be stronger, tougher and have the last word, and sometimes that last word is violence,” said Vickie Jensen, a professor in the department of criminology and in Forensic Studies from California State University at Northridge.
Social media has been cited as a factor in recent shootings of young men, including the attacks in Uvalde and Buffalo, New York, reflecting “a problem that intersects with the spread and reinforcement of rigid, hegemonic idea of toxic masculinity,” Jensen said. This problem did not arise decades ago.
There have been a few mass shootings in the United States in which the shooter was over 60.
In one of the largest, the 2017 Las Vegas shootings that killed 58, the shooter, Stephen Paddock, was 64. Paddock was a former postal worker and tax auditor, and his mental and physical health had deteriorated in the months leading up to the shooting.
A 11e A victim of the shooting at a popular Southern California ballroom died in hospital on Monday, as investigators continue to search for the shooter’s motive.
The massacre during the Lunar New Year celebration in a prosperous Chinese-American suburb was followed by a foiled attack at another nearby dance hall and a day of searches in the Los Angeles area on Sunday. The search lasted all day in the Los Angeles area. The alleged shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Here are the details :
– Authorities have publicly identified 2 of the 11 people killed at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, and said they are waiting for next of kin to be notified to identify the others. Five of the dead are women, including My Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63, along with two other women in their 60s and another in her 50s. Of the five men killed, three were over 70 and two over 60.
– Investigators have not publicly announced the motive for the shooting, but as they continued to interview witnesses on Monday, a law enforcement official briefed on the case said they believe the shooter, identified by police as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran had specifically targeted some of those killed, but others were shot at random. Tran had recently gone to the police station in Hemet, a town in Riverside County, where he lived in a mobile park, to say his family was poisoning him, the official said.
– The shooter attempted to carry out a second attack at a ballroom in nearby Alhambra late Saturday, authorities say, but was disarmed by bystanders whom the sheriff called ‘heroes’ , thus avoiding another tragedy. Brandon Tsay, 26, who works in the ballroom, said he snatched a semi-automatic assault pistol from the suspect’s hands.
– The search ended Sunday when a SWAT team approached a white pickup truck in a parking lot in Torrance, about 50 miles from Monterey Park. Officers heard a gunshot as they approached the van, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said; they discovered that the suspected shooter had killed himself.
– Relatives and survivors began telling the victims’ stories on Monday, describing moments of joy and rejoicing as dozens of couples performed their favorite dance moves at the studio. The sheriff said late Sunday that seven of the injured remain hospitalized.
This article was published in the New York Times.