US police hunt gunman who killed 10 in Lunar New Year shooting
Police in California on Sunday launched a manhunt for an Asian man suspected in a shooting that left 10 people dead and 10 others wounded at a dance club during Lunar New Year celebrations.
The “male suspect fled the scene and remains outstanding,” Los Angeles County sheriff Robert Luna told a press conference in Monterey Park. He cautioned that the description of the shooter remains preliminary.
The gunman opened fire amid Lunar New Year celebrations at a Monterey Park dance hall, with witnesses saying he shot indiscriminately with a semiautomatic weapon.
Luna said police responded to emergency calls at 10:22pm Saturday (6:22 Sunday GMT) and found people pouring out of the premises.
City firefighters treated the injured before sending them to area hospitals, where Luna said their conditions ranged from stable to critical.
Five of the dead were women and five men, officials said, without providing ages or names. The sheriff said he did not believe the shoter used an assault rifle, but he did not elaborate.
Luna also described a second incident in nearby Alhambra some 20 minutes later, in which an Asian man carrying a gun walked into a dance studio but was tackled and disarmed. The man fled and no injuries were reported.
Alhambra is about two miles north of Monterey Park. Luna said investigators were probing whether the incidents were related.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “they did pronounce 10 of the victims deceased at the scene.”
White tents erected for the New Year celebration remained standing. A banner hung above the street read “Happy Year of the Rabbit.”
“It’s a really sad thing,” Ken Nim, a data-center worker out walking his dog, told AFP. “Usually you don’t see much happening here.
Monterey Park, only a few miles from downtown Los Angeles, is home to around 60,000 people, the majority of them Asian or Asian American.
“We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime defined by law,” Luna said, “but who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people?” Although the gunman remained on the loose, the sheriff said it was safe for people to attend area Lunar New Year events.
US President Joe Biden tweeted that he and his wife Jill were “praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park,” adding, “I’m monitoring this situation closely.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his condolences, tweeting, “My heart breaks for the people of Monterey Park.”
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