A gunman opened fire at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance studio following a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, killing 10 people and setting off a manhunt for the suspect.
Another 10 people were wounded and were taken to hospitals, where their conditions ranged from stable to critical, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said in a Sunday morning news conference. A suspect has not been arrested yet in the Monterey Park shooting.
The “male suspect” that fled the scene “remains outstanding,” Luna said. He said the suspect is a “male Asian,” but other details were not provided.
Witnesses provided police with different descriptions of the suspect, Luna added. There is currently an active manhunt for the suspect.
“We need to get this person off the street as soon as possible,” he said.
The scene unfolded late Saturday in Monterey Park, a city of about 60,000 people on the eastern edge of Los Angeles that is composed mostly of Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans. Officials said officers then went into the ballroom and found victims as firefighters treated the wounded.
The shooting happened in the heart of downtown Monterey Park where red lanterns decorated the streets for the Lunar New Year festivities. A police car was parked near a large banner that proclaimed “Happy Year of the Rabbit!” The celebration in Monterey Park is one of California’s largest and had attracted tens of thousands throughout the day.
The White House said President Joe Biden was briefed on the situation by Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. Attorney General Merrick Garland was also briefed, Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson said.
“Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park,” wrote Biden on Twitter. “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.”
Earlier on Sunday, Capt. Andrew Meyer from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau confirmed that 10 victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and 10 additional victims were taken to nearby hospitals.
Meyer at the time added that no further information on the type of firearm used in the shooting was available. He added that it’s too early in the investigation to know whether the gunman knew the victims.
During Sunday morning’s press conference, neither Luna nor any of the other officials elaborated on the type of weapon.
They also did not make any statements on a possible motive. Earlier Sunday morning, the sheriff’s department told reporters it did not know whether the attack was racially motivated.
Police were investigating another incident in the nearby city of Alhambra, where a similar business, the Lai Lai Ballroom, had police tape across its front door and an officer guarding it. Detectives could be seen working near the open back door, where a woman wearing gloves was carefully examining the door handle as though checking for prints. Officials gave no details on what had happened and it was unclear whether the incident was connected to the Monterey Park shooting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.