LA mass shooting suspect kills 10 near Lunar New Year celebrations

A gunman killed 10 people and injured 10 others after a New Year’s celebration at a Ballroom dance club near Los Angeles.

(Jae C. Hong | AP Photo) Two police vehicles are seen near a building where a shooting took place on Sunday, January 22, 2023, in Monterey Park, California. Nine people were killed in a mass shooting late Saturday in a city east of Los Angeles after a New Year’s celebration that drew thousands, police said.

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) • A gunman killed 10 people and wounded 10 others at a ballroom dance club near Los Angeles after a New Year’s celebration, sparking a manhunt for the suspect in the fifth mass murder in the US this month.

Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said Sunday the wounded were taken to hospitals and their condition ranges from stable to critical. He said the 10 people died at the scene in the city of Monterey Park.

Meyer said people “poured out of town screaming” when officers arrived around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. He said officers then went into the ballroom and found casualties as firefighters treated the wounded.

Meyer gave no description of the male suspect or the weapon he used, or why police didn’t provide any information about the shooting for hours while the gunman appeared to remain at large. He also said police are investigating another incident in the nearby town of Alhambra, where a similar store, the Lai Lai Ballroom, had police tape on the front door and an officer was guarding it. Detectives could be seen near the open back door, where a gloved woman was carefully examining the door handle as if checking for fingerprints. Officials did not provide details of what happened, and it was unclear if incident investigators were investigating whether there was a connection to the Monterey Park shooting.

Meyer said it was too early in the investigation to know if the shooter knew anyone in the ballroom or if it was a hate crime.

“We’ll look at every angle,” Meyer said.

The shooting took place in the heart of downtown Monterey Park, where red lanterns adorned the streets for the Lunar New Year celebrations. A police car was parked near a large banner that read, “Happy Year of the Rabbit!”

The New Year celebration at Monterey Park is one of the largest in California and had attracted tens of thousands throughout the day. Most residents of Monterey Park, a city of about 60,000 on the eastern edge of Los Angeles, are Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans.

Two festival days were planned, which have been attended by up to 100,000 people in recent years. But officials canceled Sunday’s events after the shooting.

The tragedy was not only the fifth mass murder in the United States since the beginning of the year, but also the deadliest since May 24, 2022 – when 21 people were killed at a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today mass murder database in the USA

The database also shows that 2022 was also one of the worst years ever in terms of mass killings, with 42 such attacks — the second-highest number since the tracker was created in 2006. The database defines a mass murder as four people not killed including of the perpetrator.

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

The White House said President Joe Biden was briefed on the situation by Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

“The President was briefed by the Homeland Security Advisor on the mass shooting in Monterey Park. He instructed them to ensure the FBI’s full support to local authorities and to update him regularly today as more details emerge.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland has also been briefed, Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said.

The shooting took place at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, a few blocks from City Hall on Monterey Park’s main thoroughfare, Garvey Avenue, which is dotted with malls full of small shops with signs in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated and Chinese films are regularly screened in the city.

The company offered dance courses from tango to rumba to foxtrot and rented out its premises for events. On Saturday, the site announced it was hosting an event called “Star Night” from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting took place, told the Los Angeles Times that three people burst into his shop and told him to lock the door.

People told Choi that there was a gunman with a gun who had several rounds of ammunition on him.

Wong Wei, who lives nearby, told the Los Angeles Times that his friend was in a bathroom at the dance club the night the shooting began. When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies.

The friend then fled to Wei’s house around 11 p.m., he said, adding that his friends had told him that the gunman had fired a long gun, apparently indiscriminately.


Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report. LA mass shooting suspect kills 10 near Lunar New Year celebrations

Justin Scacco

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