Ten people are dead, and at least ten more are hospitalized after a mass shooting during a Lunar New Year Celebration in a Los Angeles suburb late Saturday night.
The shooting occurred in a dance studio in Monterey Park, a predominately Asian community about ten miles east of L.A. According to a local reporter, “police believe they know who the suspect is” but he has not been named or located, and no motive has been announced. At a press conference Sunday morning, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the suspect has been preliminarily described as “a male Asian” between 30 and 50 years old. Luna said the deceased included five males and five females.
The Sheriff’s Department released photographs of the suspected gunman who is still at large late Sunday morning. Law enforcement said the man is also a suspect in a second incident in Alhambra that occurred after the Monterey Park killings and “should be considered armed and dangerous.” Authorities said they are withholding the suspect’s name, citing concerns that releasing it could negatively impact their efforts to take him into custody.
— Rick Montanez (@RickCBSLA) January 22, 2023
Law enforcement was dispatched at 10:22 p.m. Saturday after the shooter fled.
“When officers arrived on scene, they observed numerous individuals, patrons … pouring out of the location, screaming. The officers made entry to the location and located additional victims,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Captain Andrew Meyer said.
#montereypark Shooting at Lunar New Year celebrations in this City. Preliminary indications are 16 people shot, as many as 10 dead. No suspect in custody. Monterey Park PD is primary in investigation with the assistance of LASD Homicide. @knxnews pic.twitter.com/Q7aUhLwlOp
— Pete Demetriou (@knxpete) January 22, 2023
Meyer said that ten of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene by firefighters, and ten more were taken to hospitals and are in stable to critical conditions. One man who lives near the dance studio told the Los Angeles Times that his friend was in the bathroom during the shooting, and when she came out, she saw three bodies and a gunman. His friend said the killer appeared to be firing at random with a long gun, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Police reportedly believe another shooting at a dance hall in neighboring Alhambra Saturday night is connected. Sheriff Luna said the incident “may be related” during a press conference early Sunday morning. Luna confirmed that a weapon was recovered at the scene of the Alhambra shooting but would not specify what type, only clarifying that “it was not an assault rifle.”
Alhambra Mayor Sasha Renee Perez reportedly said, “We know that individuals at the Alhambra dance hall saw the shooter and attempted to apprehend him, taking the firearm.”
Sheriff Luna says incident in Alhambra “may be related but we’re not there yet” – Asian male walked into another dance hall with a firearm, was disarmed by people there and fled.
A white cargo van there is described as a “van of interest.” #MontereyPark
— Alex Silverman (@AlexSilverman) January 22, 2023
“Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year,” tweeted California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday morning. “Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence. Our hearts mourn as we learn more about the devastating acts of last night.”
Thousands of people were celebrating the Lunar New Year in the city. Monterey Park says past events have drawn daily crowds of more than 100,000 people. The celebration was expected to continue into Sunday, but organizers have canceled those plans.
“Monterey Park’s Lunar New Year festival features vendors offering unique gifts and specialty items, food booths with various types of delectable items, amusement rides, and lots of live entertainment,” the Monterey Park website says of the event.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation by a Homeland Security Advisor, according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park.
I’m monitoring this situation closely as it develops, and urge the community to follow guidance from local officials and law enforcement in the hours ahead.
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 22, 2023
The FBI’s Los Angeles field office is involved in the investigation, along with the homicide bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Monterey Park Police, and other agencies, according to CNN.
“We’re working with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, The Federal Bureau of Investigation LA office and numerous other law enforcement agencies,” Meyer said Sunday.
FBI on the scene here in Monterey Park, CA, after last night’s mass shooting at a ballroom. 10 confirmed dead pic.twitter.com/kO4muEVV3H
— Josh Lederman (@JoshNBCNews) January 22, 2023
Monterey Park has a population of about 60,000, and about 65% of its residents are Asian. Meyer told reporters it was too early to know if the shooting was targeted.
“We will look at every angle as far as whether it’s a hate crime or not. It’s just too early in the investigation to know,” he said.
“Everything is on the table,” Sheriff Luna said Sunday morning. “Our detectives are looking at every possibility.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the department has added patrols in Asian communities and is collaborating with organizers hosting similar celebrations.
This article has been expanded to include additional information.