29 January, 2023, 1:34 pm Central - 29°C Rain

Ten killed in mass shooting following Chinese New Year celebrations near Los Angeles

Ten killed in mass shooting following Chinese New Year celebrations near Los Angeles

By abc.net.au
Monday 23/01/2023
10 people were taken to hospital with injuries, including one in a critical condition.(AP: Jae C Hong)

A man has fatally shot 10 people and injured at least 10 others at a ballroom dance venue during a Lunar New Year celebration near Los Angeles before fleeing the scene, police say.

The shooter, who was still at large hours after the Saturday evening attack in the city of Monterey Park, was believed to be an Asian man between 30 and 50 years old based on descriptions from eyewitnesses, law enforcement officials said.

"We need to get this person off the street as soon as possible," Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters at a Sunday morning news conference in Monterey Park, home to one of the largest Asian American communities in the United States.

The sheriff's department said it did not know whether the attack was racially motivated.

Half the victims were male and the rest female, Sheriff Luna said. Their identities have not been made public.

When police arrived at the Monterey Park club, people were "pouring out of the location screaming," department captain Andrew Meyer told reporters.

At least 10 people were taken to local hospitals to be treated for injuries, and at least one was in critical condition.

Footage posted on social media showed deserted, cordoned-off streets guarded by police cars.

Officials were investigating whether an incident at another dance club in the neighbouring city of Alhambra about 20 minutes later on Saturday night was connected with the massacre in Monterey Park.

At the second club, witnesses said an Asian man walked in holding a gun that patrons were able to grab. No one was shot and the man fled, Sheriff Luna said.

The White House said US President Joe Biden had been briefed on the attack and had directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist local police.

Mr Biden later wrote on Twitter that he was monitoring the situation closely.

"Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night's deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park," he said.

"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."

The shooting took place around the location of a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration held in Monterey Park.

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.

The neighbourhood 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-language films are screened in the city.

"Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighbouring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred," Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia said in a tweet.

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

The people also told Mr Choi that there was a shooter with a semiautomatic weapon who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him so he could reload.

Tens of thousands of people had attended the festival earlier in the day.

The tragedy marked not just the fifth mass killing in the US since the start of the year and the deadliest since May 24, 2022 โ€” when 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas

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

Original Story link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-22/reports-of-multiple-people-shot-in-california/101880840

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