A gunman opened fire Saturday night at a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, California, killing at least 10 people and injuring 10 others in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the Uvalde Elementary School massacre in May. The five male and five female victims have not been identified. The shooter is still at large.
Monterey Park, a predominantly Asian-American suburb just east of Los Angeles, had begun its celebrations commemorating the Lunar New Year on Saturday afternoon, several hours before the shooting, which took place after 10 p.m. At a press conference Sunday morning, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said, “The description we have now is of a male Asian. Does that matter? I don’t know.” He said authorities would provide a more detailed description in the coming hours, but declined to characterize the event as a hate crime.
“We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime as defined by law,” Luna said, “but who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people?”
Luna said that the shooting was potentially related to another incident that took place approximately 20 minutes after the initial shooting, this time at a dance hall in Alhambra, California, where patrons disarmed the gunman before he could attack. Luna said that police had retrieved a weapon and that it was not an assault rifle. “We need to get this person off the street as soon as possible,” he said.
The shooting followed a Lunar New Year festival that was scheduled to end at 9 p.m. The tragedy has drawn heartbroken reactions from the Asian-American community, including from Los Angeles Times reporter Jeong Park, who attended the festival and described the area as “a city and community that really crystallizes, in my opinion, the diversity and vibrancy of Asian Americans.” The city’s planned festivities for Sunday have been canceled.
Authorities assured the public that it was safe to continue celebrating the Lunar New Year and that they will release more details in the coming hours.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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