What was his motive? 72-yr-old man suspected of killing 10 in Los Angeles shoots himself in van

News Network
January 23, 2023

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Torrance, Jan 23: The hunt for a gunman who killed 10 people at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance club ended Sunday when authorities found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the van he used to flee after people thwarted his attempt at a second shooting.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna identified the man as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran and said no other suspects were at large.

He added that the motive remained unclear for the attack, which wounded 10 more.

Luna did not have the exact ages of the victims but said they all appeared to be over 50.

Seven of the wounded people remained in the hospital, he said.

"I still have questions in my mind, which is: What was the motive for this shooter? Did he have a mental illness? Was he a domestic violence abuser? How did he gets these guns and was it through legal means or not?” Congresswoman Judy Chu said.

Earlier Sunday, law enforcement officials swarmed and entered the van after surrounding it for for hours before going in.

A person's body appeared to be slumped over the wheel and was later removed from the vehicle.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna previously released photos of an Asian man who was believed to be the suspect.

The manhunt came after the gunman killed 10 people at a ballroom dance studio late Saturday amid Lunar New Years celebrations in the predominantly Asian American community of Monterey Park.

He likely tried and failed to target a second dance hall, authorities said.

The van was found in Torrance, another community home to many Asian Americans, about 22 miles (34.5 kilometers) from that second location.

The shooting sent a wave of fear through Asian American communities in the Los Angeles area and cast a shadow over Lunar New Year festivities around the country.

Other cities sent extra officers to watch over the celebrations.

“The community was in fear thinking that they should not go to any events because there was an active shooter,” Chu said. She added that she wants residents to now feel secure.

“Feel safe,” she said to residents during a press conference late Sunday. “You are no longer in danger.”

Luna said the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park left five women and five men dead and wounded another 10 people.

Then 20 to 30 minutes later, a man with a gun entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra.

The suspect entered the Alhambra club with a gun, and people wrested the weapon away from him before he fled, Luna said.

Hours earlier, Luna said authorities were looking for a white van after witnesses reported seeing the suspect flee from Alhambra in such a vehicle.

Members of a SWAT team entered the van a short time later and looked through its contents before walking away.

It was unclear what they found.

The massacre was the nation's fifth mass killing this month. It was also the deadliest attack since May 24, when 21 people were killed in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people on the eastern edge of Los Angeles and is composed mostly of Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans.

The shooting happened in the heart of its downtown where red lanterns decorated the streets for the Lunar New Year festivities.

A police car was parked near a large banner that proclaimed “Happy Year of the Rabbit!”

The celebration in Monterey Park is one of California's largest.

Two days of festivities, which have been attended by as many as 100,000 people in past years, were planned. But officials cancelled Sunday's events following the shooting.

Tony Lai, 35, of Monterey Park was stunned when he came out for his early morning walk to learn that the noises he heard in the night were gunshots.

“I thought maybe it was fireworks. I thought maybe it had something to do with Lunar New Year,” he said.

“And we don't even get a lot of fireworks here. It's weird to see this. It's really safe here. We're right in the middle of the city, but it's really safe.”

Wynn Liaw, 57, who lives about two blocks from the Monterey Park studio, said she was shocked that such a crime would happen, especially during New Year's celebrations.

“Chinese people, they consider Chinese New Year very, very special" — a time when "you don't do anything that will bring bad luck the entire year,” she said.

She took a picture of the activity outside the studio to send to relatives and friends in China "to let them know how crazy the U.S. is becoming with all these mass shootings, even in the New Year.”

An Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S. shows that 2022 was one of the nation's worst years with 42 such attacks — the second-highest number since the creation of the tracker in 2006.

The database defines a mass killing as four people killed, not including the perpetrator.

The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.

President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were briefed on the situation, aides said.

Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden were thinking of those killed and wounded, and he directed federal authorities to support the investigation.

The shooting occurred at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, a few blocks from city hall on Monterey Park's main thoroughfare of Garvey Avenue, which is dotted with strip malls of small businesses whose signs are in both English and Chinese.

Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated and Chinese films are screened regularly in the city.

The business offered dance lessons from tango to rumba to the fox trot, and rented its space for events.

On Saturday, its website said, it was hosting an event called “Star Night” from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. 

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News Network
January 15,2023

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Will the 2023 Karnataka assembly polls be a battle of political survival for former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S), or will the regional party once again emerge as a kingmaker, like it did in 2018, in the event of a hung verdict?

Plagued by desertions, internal rifts, and with the image of a "family party", it remains to be seen how Gowda's son and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who is in a way single handedly managing the JD(S)' affairs with aging father taking the back seat, would steer the party in the upcoming Assembly polls.

Since the time of its formation in 1999, JD(S) has never formed a government on its own, but had been in power twice in coalition with both national parties- for 20 months with BJP from February 2006 and with Congress for 14 months after the May 2018 assembly polls- with Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister.

This time however, the party has set an ambitious target of "mission 123" to independently form a government on its own by winning at least 123 out of total 224 seats going for polls by May, and has been seeking votes repeatedly invoking regional Kannadiga pride and asserting itself to be the only Kannadiga party.

There are however doubts among political observers and within a section of the party itself about JD(S) meeting this ambitious target, as the party's best ever performance so far has been in the 2004 assembly elections, when it won 58 seats, and 40 seats in 2013 was its second best.

In the 2018 polls, JD(S) had managed to win 37 seats. However, some party leaders are hopeful about the JD(S)' prospects of coming to power, by winning a few more seats than they did last time, and once again using the knack of power politics, by holding the key for government formation, in the event of a hung verdict.

"If such a situation arise we will certainly push for our Kumaranna (Kumaraswamy) to become the Chief Minister, but we will be more cautious on our choices and the bargain with the probable alliance partner this time after last time's bad experience," a JD(S) functionary not wanting to be named said, as he maintained that if not 123, the party will at least better its tally this time.

The party’s vote share is stagnant, if not shrinking. It has been ranging between 18-20 per cent, as the party has managed to continue its hold on a sizable number of constituencies, predominantly in the Vokkaliga belt of Old Mysuru region. It is this Gowda family’s hold over the Vokkaliga community that dominates the Old Mysuru region comprising 61 seats (excluding the 28 constituencies in Bengaluru), which the ruling BJP and Congress are looking forward to breaking and improving their prospects.

Congress is considerably strong in Old Mysuru region and has been a traditional rival for the JD(S) in the belt, the BJP however is weak here and is aiming to make swift inroads with an aim to get a clear majority.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit had asked his party leaders to concentrate on the region.

According to political analyst A Narayana from the Azim Premji University, how strong or weak the JD(S) actually is can be decided only after the candidates list is announced, because its survival depends on how many strong aspirants rejected by other parties join it. "It decides two things- the percentage of votes JD(S) is going to poll and the number of seats they win. In constituencies where JD(S) doesn't have strong candidates, they depend on rejects from other parties," he said.

Further, he said that the question is also whether the JD(S) is stronger or weaker in their core area of old Mysuru, when compared to 2018. It appears on the face of it that they are weak, for two reasons- one series of desertions since 2018, second Congress is in a better position among the Vokkaligas; one of the factors for it is D K Shivakumar (a Vokkaliga) as President.

"Also in the 2018 elections, JD(S) won in Mandya and Hassan districts, only because of Vokkaliga anger against Siddaramaiah, and that seems to have not disappeared now but subsided," he said, adding that how the BJP making inroads in Old Mysuru region will affect the JD(S) or Congress, is the question that cannot be answered at the moment.

Political observers are also of the view that the perception about JD(S) being too family centric is one of its major drawbacks.

Eight members of Gowda's immediate family are into active politics. Gowda, who is the JD(S) supremo, is also Member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, while his son Kumaraswamy is a former CM and MLA from Channapatna. Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha is MLA from Ramanagara segment, and his son Nikhil, who is the JD(S) youth wing President, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mandya. The party supremo's elder son H D Revanna is a former minister and MLA from Holenarsipura, his wife Bhavani Revanna was a member of the Hassan Zilla Panchayat, and their sons Prajwal and Suraj are MP from Hassan and a MLC respectively.

The Gowda family has its representation in all the four major houses of public representatives- Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

James Manor, University of London professor, who has been a keen observer of Karnataka's politics, during a webinar recently said, family-centred politics is causing discontent and leading to desertion. "JD(S) suffers from over-centralisation and dictatorial leadership." Narayana too echoing similar sentiments said, the party is perceived to be "over family centric", even among Vokkaligas, leading to leaders deserting the party. "It was also one of the primary reasons for JD(S)' rout in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which was its lowest point ever since the party's formation."

According to some political observers, JD(S) inability to grow beyond the Vokkaliga-dominated old Mysuru region, other than in certain select pockets of north Karnataka is seen among its other drawbacks.

Kumaraswamy on Saturday however exuded confidence that his party will grow beyond its traditional old Mysuru region in the upcoming assembly polls and form a government on its own strength in Karnataka. He also claimed that there is a strong undercurrent in favour of him and his party, especially in rural areas.

Narayana further pointed out that Vokkaliga's support for JD(S) has not been consistent. "Of all the caste groups in Karnataka, I would say that Vokkaligas are more matured voters...In one election they will support Deve Gowda and when they perceive that his government or party has not done well or have disappointed them, they don't hesitate in shifting to Congress. This has happened consistently."

Amid questions of the party's survival and "shortage" of active leaders, Kumaraswamy is on a "Pancharatna Ratha Yatre", a statewide tour that he is undertaking ahead of polls.

This Yatre is to inform people about a five-fold programme called 'Pancharatna' that the JD(S) plans to implement on coming to power, which includes quality education, farmer welfare and employment. He has already announced a list of 93 candidates for the assembly polls, and will announce the second list of 50-60 candidates in about 10 days. " I want to give opportunity to fresh faces...want to build a second line of leadership in the party," he has said.

JD(S) believes it suffered damage in 2018 polls, when the Congress repeatedly called it the BJP’s ‘B’ team, which resulted in Muslim votes going away. The party's decision to bring C M Ibrahim as its state president might be a step towards regaining minority votes. However, noting that any such impact would be marginal, Narayana said, as there a growing sense of insecurity among Muslims this time they may go for strategic voting in which they may completely vote in favour of a party or in favour of the candidate, who is most likely to win against BJP in their segment.

Whatever said and done, one needs to be careful before writing off the JD(S), as before every election since 2008, discussions have always taken place in media and political circles, about it being a battle of survival for the regional party, but it has continued to remain a relevant force, according to political analysts.

Pointing out that this is seen by some quarters as Deve Gowda’s last election, Manor had recently said, "His emotional pleas for votes may attract more support from Vokkaligas than that of Shivakumar’s. Also, some Vokkaligas resent Siddaramaiah’s emphasis on minorities, backward classes and Dalits. Perhaps, the JD(S) may not do too badly, and if it does even somewhat well, it will be bad news for the Congress." 

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News Network
January 26,2023

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Bengaluru, Jan 26: "In the next 25 years of the golden period of Amritkal, it is our duty to construct a respectable and developed India, which will make our nation the crown of the world," said Karnataka Governor Thawarchand Gehlot on Thursday.

Addressing the public on the occasion of the 74th Republic Day celebrations at the Manekshaw Parade Ground in the city on Thursday, Gehlot emphasised the citizens' commitment to strive for the country's development and celebrate its achievements.

Calling Karnataka one of the progressive states in the country, he provided a brief update of the 14 schemes implemented in the state as part of the 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' programme. These schemes and programs range from employment generation, agriculture, housing, education, and health, to entrepreneurship, industry, women empowerment and more. 

"Karnataka stands fourth in the latest SDG India Index report 2020-21," the Governor said, adding that it retains its position as the most innovative state and is the best performing state under the Startup Ranking of the states by Government of India. 

"I have faith that all of you will not just take active part in public life, but also encourage everyone to contribute to our nation's progress," he said. 

Gehlot urged citizens to work together for the health and prosperity of the state. "Let us resolve to strengthen the sovereignty, unity, and prosperity of the nation and move forward," he said. 

Speaking after paying tributes to the martyrs at National War Memorial, Chief Minster Basavaraj Bommai wished the people on the occasion of RD celebrations. "Our country is modern and progressive and humane and marching forward with the theme of Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas, Sab Ka Prayas", he said. He urged people to dedicate themselves to the Constitution and vow to work for the progress of the nation. 

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News Network
January 25,2023

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Bengaluru, Jan 25: Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Karnataka protested against the release of Shah Rukh Khan’s newly-released movie Pathaan. Several supporters came out on streets with banners and posters demanding a boycott of the film. This comes hours after the VHP spokesperson earlier in the day said they will not oppose the film “for the time being”. 

“Keeping our earlier objections in mind, changes made in the film are correct. After watching the film, if we find anything objectionable, then we'll reconsider opposing the film,” VHP spokesperson Shriraj Nair said. 

On Tuesday, the VHP’s Gujarat unit had also withdrawn its protest against the film expressing satisfaction over removal of “objectionable” contents from the film. 

The film came under fire by the right wing groups for featuring actor Deepika Padukone in a saffron bikini in the song ‘Besharam Rang’. Several leaders, including from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had sought a ban on the film, which is scheduled to release on Wednesday.

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has revised the "obscene song" and "lewd words" in the film and hence the right-wing groups will no longer protest against its release, the Gujarat VHP's secretary Ashok Raval said in a statement.

Talking to news agency PTI, Raval claimed that in its recent circular, the censor board has made 40 to 45 corrections regarding songs, colour and clothes, which resolve the issues and hence, they no longer need to protest.

The right-wing groups had earlier threatened to stop the release of the film in Gujarat, while the state government had assured police protection to theatres following a representation made by multiplex owners.

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