‘Nobody dared to flee’ because the shooter carried out his rampage.

Grace was within the again nook of the dance corridor, training her steps, becoming a member of about 100 different patrons who knew the Star Ballroom Dance Studio because the place to be on Saturday nights.

Many have been going through the wall-length mirror, operating by means of their very own dance strikes. On the audio system was the music for guangchang wu, a public sq. dance widespread amongst middle-aged and older Chinese language patrons, recalled Grace, a dance pupil in her 50s who had been coming to the Star Ballroom for about 4 years.

Then, abruptly, she heard a sequence of pops that seemed like fireworks.

She seemed towards the doorway and noticed folks collapsing on the ground, and she or he dove underneath a desk as others have been frantically doing the identical, she mentioned. She might see the gunman and his two-foot-long weapon, she recounted.

“Nobody dared to flee — all of us bought right down to the bottom, hiding wherever we might,” she mentioned in an interview Sunday afternoon, down the road from the Star Ballroom. She requested that she be recognized solely by her English first title as a result of she didn’t need folks in the neighborhood to know she was there on the time of the taking pictures.

“Nobody might get out,” she added.

A person she referred to as “Ma laoban” — “Boss Ma” — was close to the doorway and seemed to be the primary one who was shot, she mentioned. Two individuals who have been subsequent to him additionally collapsed as 5 – 6 pictures occurred in fast succession, she mentioned.

The gunman appeared to expire of bullets and rapidly left earlier than returning to unleash a second bout of gunshots deeper into the ballroom. Some individuals who appeared to have been shot have been splayed out on the picket ground; others ducked underneath a desk or ran right into a again room. The entire mass taking pictures lasted about 5 minutes, she mentioned.

“I noticed him, however I used to be distant and the lights have been dim. I couldn’t see his face clearly,” mentioned Grace, who mentioned she didn’t acknowledge the suspect within the photographs launched by native authorities Sunday morning whereas he remained at giant.

The suspect fatally shot himself later Sunday in a parking zone about 30 miles away in Torrance as he was surrounded by the police, mentioned Sheriff Robert Luna of Los Angeles County. The gunman was recognized as Huu Can Tran, 72.

After the shooter left, a number of folks referred to as 911 and the police appeared to reach swiftly, she recounted. They have been taken to the police station in vans for detailed questioning concerning the suspect for hours, she mentioned. Mr. Tran headed subsequent to a different ballroom dance studio in Alhambra, about three miles away, the place two patrons wrested his gun away and the suspect fled on foot, Sheriff Luna mentioned.

Grace mentioned she didn’t get house till 3 a.m. Sunday and bought solely about an hour of sleep as a result of her cellphone was ringing off the hook with calls from mates and acquaintances who knew she was an everyday at Star, she mentioned.

She clutched her coronary heart, describing how scared and shaken she nonetheless felt a day after the taking pictures. She wasn’t positive whether or not she’d have the ability to return to the studio, the place she mentioned dancing had saved her blissful and wholesome, and the place she had realized to bounce her favourite, the waltz.

“It brings me pleasure. My teacher may be very constructive and he brings me pleasure, too,” she mentioned. “As soon as the suspect is arrested, perhaps after a time frame of therapeutic, perhaps I’ll return.”

Angela Chen contributed reporting.