A gunman killed 10 people and wounded at least 10 others at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance club following a Lunar New Year celebration, police said, setting off a manhunt for the suspect who remained at large early Sunday.
Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said Sunday that the wounded were taken to hospitals and their conditions range from stable to critical. He said the 10 people died at the scene in the city of Monterey Park.
Meyer said people were “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived on the scene at around 10:30 p.m. He said officers then went into the dance ballroom as firefighters treated the wounded.
“The suspect fled the scene and remains outstanding,” said Meyer, who added that officials do not yet have a description of the suspect.
Meyer said it was too early in the investigation to determine a motive or whether the suspect targeted any victims.
Federal agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are on the scene assisting local police, a law enforcement source told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden had been updated on the shooting.
“The President has been briefed by the Homeland Security Advisor on the mass shooting in Monterey Park,” Jean-Pierre said on Twitter. “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.”
Authorities previously said the shooting happened on the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park. One business along that block is Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where an event called “Star Night” was held from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., according to a calendar on its website.
Local resident Wong Wei told the Los Angeles Times his friend had been at the club, and she had been in the bathroom when the shooting erupted. When she emerged from the bathroom, she saw a gunman and three bodies — two women and one person who he said was the boss of the club.
The friend then fled to his home at around 11 p.m., Wei said, adding that his friends told him that the shooter appeared to fire indiscriminately with a long gun. “They don’t know why, so they run,” he told the newspaper.
Officials also revealed there was an “incident” in Alhambra and police were investigating to see if there was a connection to the Monterey Park shooting about two miles away, CBS Los Angeles reported. No one was hurt at the second scene, officers said.
“We are aware of an incident that occurred in Alhambra and we have investigators on scene trying to determine if there is a connection,” Meyer said. “The investigators are working every lead on this case. We are reviewing all surveillance video and following all leads. We are not going to leave anything unturned.”
Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people that sits at the eastern edge of Los Angeles. The majority of its residents are Asian immigrants or their descendants, most of them Chinese.
The dance studio in downtown Monterey Park is just a few blocks from city hall on its main thoroughfare of Garvey Avenue, which is dotted with strip malls that are full of small businesses whose signs are in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated, and Chinese films are screened in the city.
One neighbor told CBS Los Angeles the gunshots sounded like fireworks, but due to the celebrations in the area, he did not think much of it at the time.
The festival in Monterey Park has been canceled for Sunday, officials said.
Videos posted on social media showed people being loaded onto stretchers and placed into ambulances. Other photos showed bloodied and bandaged victims being treated by Monterey Park firefighters in a parking lot.
Seung Won Choi, the owner of a nearby seafood restaurant, told the Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his restaurant. The people, he said, said there was a gunman with a semiautomatic gun who had reloaded after opening fire.
“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred,” Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia said in a tweet.
It marked the fifth mass shooting in the U.S. this month and the deadliest since 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 latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.
The United States saw 647 mass shootings last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive website, defined as an incident with four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter.
The U.S. has more weapons than people: one in three adults owns at least one weapon and nearly one in two adults lives in a home where there is a weapon.
This story was originally published by CBS News on Jan. 22, 2023 at 9:55 a.m. E.T.
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