Ten killed in shooting near LA after Lunar New Year holiday | Gun Violence News


Police said the suspect remains at large after the shooting in Monterey Park, a city home to a large Asian population.

At least 10 people were killed and 10 others wounded in a mass shooting east of Los Angeles after a Lunar New Year celebration that drew thousands, police said.

Police said the shooting, which happened late Saturday, happened at a ballroom dance club on Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park.

Captain Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said people were “running out of the scene screaming” when officers arrived at the scene around 10:30 p.m. (06:30 GMT Sunday).

At a press conference hours after the attack, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said five men and five women died at the scene. The condition of the injured is “from stable to critical”.

Luna said the suspect is still at large and gave a preliminary description of the attacker as an “Asian male” between 30 and 50 years old, but said investigators have so far received “different descriptions of one suspect” from survivors and witnesses.

“We don’t know if this is a specific hate crime defined by law,” he added, “but who walks into a dance hall and kills 20 people?”

Authorities said they were investigating another incident in the nearby town of Alhambra to see if there was a connection.

As a result of the shooting, police said Sunday’s Lunar New Year festivities at Monterey Park have been canceled.

A screenshot from a video shows emergency workers helping a man to an ambulance after a shooting in Monterey Park, California, U.S., January 22, 2023.
A screenshot from a video shows paramedics helping a man into an ambulance [TNLA via Reuters]

Reporting from Monterey Park, journalist and videographer Sean Buckner-Carmichael told Al Jazeera that details of the incident were still “pretty sketchy”.

“We are waiting for the names [of those deceased] and the motive of the suspect,” he added. “Many of the people who have gathered here from the community are in shock.”

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people with a large Asian population located about 16 km (10 mi) from downtown Los Angeles.

“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city of Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just happened,” Los Angeles City Comptroller Kenneth Mejia said in a tweet.

Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from the shooting, told the Los Angles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.

People also told Choi that there was a machine gunner who had several rounds in him so he could reload.

Local resident Wong Wei told the newspaper that a friend of his was at the dance club and was in the bathroom when the shooting broke out.

When she came out, she saw a man carrying a long gun and firing indiscriminately, as well as the bodies of three people. The account could not be verified immediately.

Saturday marked the beginning of the two-day festival, which is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California.

The incident marked the fifth mass shooting in the US this month and the deadliest since 21 people were killed at a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to the AP/USA Today US Mass Homicide Database.

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

Mass shootings remain common in the U.S., where 647 shootings with four or more victims were recorded in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

shooting lunar new year
Investigators converge on the scene of a shooting in Monterey Park, California [Jae C Hong/The Associated Press]

Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported last year that there were 61 “active shooter” incidents in the US in 2021, a 52 percent increase from 2020 and the highest on record.

The department defined an “active shooter” as someone who kills or tries to kill people in a public place in a seemingly random manner. About one in five “active shooter” incidents in 2021 were also mass murders.

Despite the high rate of gun violence, federal gun control remains a political obstacle.

While President Joe Biden’s administration last year signed the most significant gun safety legislation in decades, gun control advocates said gains in the legislation were relatively modest. They include strengthening background checks, funding laws to confiscate firearms from people deemed a threat, and closing a loophole that allows some people accused of domestic violence to own guns.

Larger reforms, including higher age limits for gun purchases and a federal ban on assault weapons — the firearm of choice for many mass shooters — were not included in the package.

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