'We don't know if it's targeted': 10 dead, manhunt underway in shooting rampage near Los Angeles. Live updates.
Mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, leaves at least ten dead
The shooting happened near a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California, one of the largest festivals for the occasion in the state.
Patrick Colson-Price, USA TODAY
At least 10 people were killed and 10 others wounded in a shooting rampage at a dance club after a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California, authorities said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department issued a brief statement saying the shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studiowas reported at 10:22 p.m. Saturday. The gunman remained at-large Sunday.
"Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide detectives are responding to assist Monterey Park Police Department with a shooting death investigation," the statement said. The initial death toll was nine; authorities later said 10 people had died.
Monterey Park is a city of 60,000 people about 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The shooting took place shortly after a Lunar New Year celebration brought thousands of people to the city, which has a majority-Asian population.
The shooting was the nation's deadliest since 24 people were killed in a Texas school in May.
►Sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Meyer said Sunday that the shooter was male but provided no description or motive for the carnage.
►Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said the second day of the two-day Lunar New Year celebration set for Sunday has been canceled "out of an abundance of caution and reverence for the victims."
Meyer said investigators were checking reports that an attempted shooting at a ballroom in Alhambra, a couple miles north of Monterey Park, might be related. Investigators were on scene, he said. No injuries were immediately reported. Alhambra Mayor Sasha Renée Pérez tweeted condolences for victims in the neighboring city.
"To have this tragedy occur on Lunar New Year weekend, makes this especially painful. Monterey Park is home to one of the largest (Asian-American Pacific Islander) communities in the country," she said. "This is a time when residents should be celebrating with family, friends and loved ones - not fearing gun violence."
Hours before the shooting, Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo posted a brief video clip from the opening ceremonies at the festival, which he said had returned after a three year absence. The clips shows hundreds of people gathered in and under a tent in sunshine as people dance in brightly colored animal costumes.
"Monterey Park’s Lunar New Year Festival is back!," Lo wrote. "It was great to see such a large turnout today at the opening ceremony. This is a two day event that ends tomorrow night in the evening. Come on over ... welcome the Year of the Rabbit!"
Kris Brown, president of the gun-control advocacy group Brady United, issued a statement of condolence.
“It is devastating to live in a country where we have to continually wake up to this horrific news. It is even more egregious that it has become normal for people to be gunned down in the middle of a joyous holiday celebration," the statement said. "There is no place in our country for hate-filled individuals to target others based on prejudice, bigotry and racism. Our deepest sympathies are with the families and individuals impacted by this senseless attack on the Chinese community.”
Meyer said the county homicide bureau was working the case along with Monterey Park Police, the FBI and the California Office of Emergency Services. He said it was too early in the investigation to determine a motive.
"The investigators are working every lead in this case," Meyer said. "We have all our resources here. ... We are reviewing all surveillance video, following all leads. We're not going to leave anything unturned."
He said investigators had not determined whether the shooter knew the victims, and he was asked if the attack was a hate crime.
"We don't know if it's targeted," Meyer said. "We will look at every angle, including if it was a hate crime or not."
President Joe Biden has been briefed by Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall on the shooting, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a Twitter post.
"He directed her to make sure that the FBI is providing full support to local authorities, and to update him regularly today as more details are known," Jean-Pierre said.
Meyer said officers responded to a call of shots fired at around 10:30 pm local time.
"When officers arrived on scene they observed numerous individuals, patrons of the location, pouring out of the location screaming," Meyer said. He said officers immediately entered the building. The wounded were taken to hospitals where their conditions range from stable to critical, Meyer said.
Video from the scene shows ambulances lined up awaiting people being loaded onto stretchers. Other photos showed bloodied and bandaged victims being treated by firefighters in a parking lot.
"The suspect fled the scene and remains outstanding," Meyer said.
The site of the shooting in downtown Monterey Park is a few blocks from City Hall on the city's main thoroughfare. Garvey Avenue is dotted with strip malls full of small businesses with signs in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated, and Chinese films are screened in the city.
Wong Wei, who lives nearby, told the Los Angeles Times that a friend had gone to the dance club that night with a group of friends. His friend was in the bathroom when the shooting started, Wei said. His friend came out and saw a gunman and the bodies of two women and a club manager, Wei said. The group of friends fled to Wei's home, he said.
The shooter appeared to fire indiscriminately, his friends told him.
“They don’t know why, so they run,” he told the Times.
The tragedy marked the fifth mass killing in the U.S. since the start of the year. It is also the deadliest since May 24 when 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA TODAY database on mass killings in the U.S. The database also shows that 2022 was also one of the worst years ever in terms of mass killings: 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.
MASS KILLING DATABASE:Revealing trends, details and anguish of every US event since 2006
Lunar New Year, sometimes called Chinese New Year, is celebrated in several Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Some traditions are shared, others are specific to those nations. It marks the beginning of the Lunar calendar year, and months are moon cycles.
This year the lunar year begat Sunday, kicking off the Year of the Rabbit (except Vietnam swaps a cat for the rabbit). Twelve animals take turns claiming the year on a rotating basis. Legend says the animals crossed a dangerous river in the following order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Contributing: The Associated Press