At around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night, after a Lunar New Year celebration, a gunman opened fire at a ballroom dance club in Monterey Park, California. The incident resulted in the death of 10 people and injury of 10 more, with their conditions ranging from stable to critical.
Captain Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said that when officers arrived they were met with people fleeing the scene and screaming. He added that the suspect is still on the loose and there is no current description of them. Furthermore, no motive has been determined yet, nor has a target for the suspect been identified.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting the local police in their investigation. President Biden has been briefed on the shooting.
Jean-Pierre revealed on Twitter that the President has been briefed by the Homeland Security Advisor regarding the shooting incident in Monterey Park. He has instructed her to ensure that the FBI gives full support to local authorities and to update him as more details become available.
Previous reports indicated that the shooting occurred on the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park, where Star Ballroom Dance Studio hosted an event called “Star Night” in the evening.
A local inhabitant, Wong Wei, told the Los Angeles Times that his friend was present at the club and had been in the bathroom when the shooting started. When she emerged, she saw a gunman and three people who were already dead; two women and the owner of the club. The friend fled to Wei’s home at around 11 p.m. and Wei’s friends mentioned that the shooter was firing randomly with a long gun.
Authorities further declared that a similar incident had taken place in Alhambra and police were looking into the possibility of a link between the two shootings, which took place two miles apart. No one was hurt at the second site according to the officers.
Monterey Park is a city with a population of about 60,000 and where the majority are Asian immigrants or their descendants, particularly Chinese.
The dance studio is located in downtown Monterey Park and is a few blocks away from the city hall on Garvey Avenue, surrounded by strip malls containing businesses with signs in both English and Chinese. Both Cantonese and Mandarin are widely spoken and Chinese holidays are celebrated.
One neighbor told CBS Los Angeles that the sound of the gunshots resembled fireworks and he did not give it much thought due to the celebrations in the vicinity.
The Lunar new year event that was scheduled has been canceled for Sunday as per officials.
Seung Won Choi, the owner of a nearby seafood restaurant, informed the Los Angeles Times that three individuals fled into his restaurant and said there was a gunman with a semiautomatic gun who had reloaded after shooting.
Kenneth Mejia, Los Angeles City Controller, tweeted expressing his sympathies to those who lost loved ones in the Monterey Park shooting.
This incident is the fifth mass shooting for this month, and the most fatal since the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S.
Two months ago, five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.
Data from the Gun Violence Archive website shows that 647 mass shootings occurred in the U.S. last year, which is defined as an event with four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter.