A gunman opened fire, killing 10 people and wounding 10 others on Saturday after celebrating the Lunar New Year in Southern California’s Asian American at Monterey Park, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It isn’t clear what was behind the massacre, and the suspect still remains at large, according to Captain Andrew Meyer from the Department homicide division.
Monterey Police Department officers first responded to a dance hall after several reports of a shooting came in at 10:22 p.m. According to Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna, people were rushing out of the dance hall as officers went inside the business.
A total of 10 people were killed at the venue and additional 10 people were later transported to local hospitals, their conditions ranging from stable to critical. Four injured were treated at LAC + USC Medical Center.
Authorities are still working to identify the victims, but Luna stated that five were women and five were men. The suspected gunman is speculated to be an Asian male between the ages of 30 to 50, but Luna stated it was still a preliminary description. “We’ve gotten different descriptions of one suspect,” Luna stated. “So when I say it is preliminary, please again, be patient with us.”
10 Killed in Mass Shooting
When asked about whether the case was being investigated as a hate crime, the officer told reporters that “everything is on the table.” “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,” Luna stated. “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.”
Officials are also investigating another incident in the nearby city of Alhambra to see whether or not it was connected. About 20 minutes after the shooting in Monterey Park, a male Asian was seen entering a dance hall in Alhambra with a firearm. According to authorities, people inside the hall wrestled the gun away from the suspect as he took off in a white cargo van.
The shooting came after several people gathered for a Lunar New Year Festival in Monterey Park, which is a small city of around 60,000, about 2/3 of them Asian American. Monterey’s neighboring community, Alhambra, I said to be 50% Asian American. Police are looking at every angle to see if it is a hate crime or not, but said it was too early in the investigation to know whether the attack was racially motivated.
California governor Gavin Newsom stated that he was closely monitoring the shooting through a tweet on Sunday morning.
“Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year,” Newsom stated. “Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence.”
The shooting comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.