A shooting during Lunar New Year celebrations at Monterey Park in Los Angeles left ten people dead and ten others wounded on Sunday, January 22. At a news conference, law enforcement stated that the shooter remains at large.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the celebrations in Southern California’s Asian American enclave of Monterey Park were interrupted when the shooter, assumed to be an Asian male between the ages of 30 to 50 years old, opened fire on the crowd gathered at the venue.
Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna said on Sunday morning that officers responded to reports of a shooting at 10.22 pm local time Saturday and saw people rushing out of a dance hall.
Luna further said that ten people were transported to local hospitals with injuries ranging from stable to critical.
Police unsure if the shooting at Monterey Park was a hate crime
Monterey Park in Los Angeles, which has a large Asian population, fell victim to the US's most recent mass shooting on Lunar New Year, which left ten people dead. Thousands of people had reportedly gathered at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio for Lunar New Year celebrations when a male gunman opened fire on the crowd.
Regarding the shooter, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference on Sunday:
"We need to get this person off the street as soon as possible."
Law enforcement officials are searching for a male suspect between the ages of 30 and 50 who fled the scene immediately after the shooting, but have received different descriptions of the gunman from hundreds of witnesses. Information about the weapon used or the motive behind the attack remains unknown.
Sheriff Robert Luna further said that while the possibility of a hate crime was part of the investigation, investigators were also trying to figure out whether the suspect knew any of the victims personally.
"We don't know if this is specifically a hate crime defined by law, but who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people? The description we have now is of a male Asian. Does that matter? I don't know. I can tell you that everything's on the table."
According to law enforcement, an armed Asian man entered a second dance studio 20 minutes after the Monterey Park shooting, but was disarmed by two community members before he could cause further carnage. The Los Angeles County sheriff described the community members as heroes and said they saved lives.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 50% of the residents in Alhambra identify themselves as Asian American.