Ten people died and at least 10 others were injured in a shooting in a southern California town with a majority of residents of Asian origin, and the alleged perpetrator was still at large five hours later, authorities said Sunday.
The attacker opened fire at a dance hall in Monterey Park, just outside Los Angeles, as the local community celebrated the Lunar New Year. Witnesses said that he fired indiscriminately with a semi-automatic weapon.
Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office told reporters that police officers responded to emergency calls around 10:20 p.m. Saturday and when they arrived they found people leaving the nightclub.
Upon entering the scene, 10 people were pronounced dead and at least 10 additional victims have been taken to various local hospitals, where they remain in stable to critical condition.
“The suspect fled the scene and his arrest is pending,” Meyer said.
Police did not give a description of the suspect and did not say what type of weapon he used.
Monterey Park, about eight miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is home to about 61,000 people, most of them Asian or Asian-American.
Local resident Wong Wei told Los Angeles Times that a friend of hers had gone to that disco and was in the bathroom when the shots went off.
When he came out, he saw a man carrying a long gun and shooting indiscriminately, as well as the bodies of three people, two of them women and the other someone he identified as the manager of the nightclub.
The newspaper reported that Seung Won Choi, the owner of a seafood restaurant near the scene of the killing, said three people ran into his restaurant and told him to lock the door.
The three said there was a man with a semi-automatic weapon that had several rounds of ammunition and would reload each time it ran out, Choi told the newspaper.
Los Angeles Times He noted that tens of thousands of people had gathered earlier in the day for the two-day Chinese New Year festivities, which are among the largest in Southern California.
Meyer said detectives didn’t know if the suspect knew his victims or if it was an untargeted attack on someone in particular.
“We will look at all angles,” he said, adding that officers were reviewing surveillance camera footage.
“It’s too early in the investigation to know if this incident was a hate crime or not,” he said.
Investigators were also checking for a possible link to an attempted shooting at a similar location in neighboring Alhambra, Meyers said.
Gun violence is a big problem in the United States, where according to the Gun Violence Archive website there were 647 mass shootings last year, defined as incidents involving four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter.
More than 44,000 people died in the country from gunshot wounds in 2022, more than half of them by suicide.
America has more guns than people: one in three adults owns at least one gun, and nearly one in two adults lives in a home with a gun.
Source: from El Sol de Mazatlán | Noticias Locales, Policiacas, sobre México, Sinaloa y el Mundo – frontpage on 2023-01-22 07:29:12