Rare Happenings As Both California Shooters Were Elderly

The shooter who murdered 11 victims in Monterey Park, California on Saturday, as well as the man accused of murdering seven in Half Moon Bay on Monday, are two of the oldest alleged mass shooters in U.S. history.

Monterey Park shooter Huu Can Tran was 72. In Monday’s horrific shooting, 66-year-old Zhao Chunli was accused of seven murders.


The two men’s ages make them severe anomalies, said Jaclyn Schildkraut, acting executive coordinator of the Regional Gun Crime Research Group at the Rockefeller Center of Government.

“In general, aged folks are much more likely to be victims of violence than culprits.”

That happened in both California shootings. At a famous dance studio in Monterey Park, the victims were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.

After killing them, authorities claimed Tran went to another dance studio where an employee took his pistol. He escaped, prompting a chase that ended the next day when he killed himself as authorities reached his vehicle.

Authorities believe Zhao killed four people at a farm where he had worked for years two days later, then three more at a neighboring farm. 43 to 74-year-old people were the casualties.

According to the Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University’s registry of mass homicides from 2006 to 2023, just 7% of shooters are over 50, while 20% of fatalities are.

A Washington Post data study found the shooters averaged 32.7 years old and nearly half were under 30. The average age of workplace-motivated mass murderers, like Zhao, is above 44.

The records show all mass murders of four or more individuals from anywhere, means, or intent. The Post restricted its evaluation to the 420 fatal shootings since 2006.

Yeates Conwell, a psychiatric professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, noted the suspects’ ages.

Older individuals are often happier than younger or middle-aged persons, according to a study. Because of their experience, they’re more introspective, accepting, and able to digest adversity.

The Violence Project, a nonprofit group that monitors firearm-related carnage, reports that Tran is the second senior citizen to commit a mass shooting in a public setting in the U.S.

However, details about Tran show a history of complaints towards others. In Hemet, 80 miles east of Monterey Park, Tran lived in a 55-and-older trailer park. A neighbor called him a “recluse.”


However, Tran, a 1990 U.S. citizen raised in Vietnam, frequented the two dancing studios he targeted.

Former renter Adam Hood reported Tran’s primary pastime was dancing and the two places were “the only place he might go at night.” Hood said Tran complained for many years about personnel and patrons there being unfriendly, as well as his ex-wife and money troubles.

The owners’ representative, David Oates, said Zhao lived on the 150-acre mushrooms and herbal farm where he was employed. Oates added Zhao had no formal complaints and many of its 35 employees lived in vans and travel trailers.

In 2013, a former housemate and eatery co-worker accused Zhao of trying to smother him with a pillow and attempting to murder him, according to court papers.

60 percent of mass murderers over 50, like Tran, commit suicide, but 28% of assailants are under 50, according to a Post research. Loneliness, isolation, and declining health are factors in the high suicide incidence among individuals over 75, according to researchers.

Conwell said older individuals are more resilient than younger ones, but there are always exceptions.