MONTEREY PARK, Calif. – Ten people have been killed and at least 10 others were wounded in a mass shooting at a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, and the shooter was at large, authorities said Sunday.
It occurred at 10:22 p.m. Saturday at the Star Dance Studio on the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue, sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Capt. Andrew Meyer told reporters at the scene during an early morning news conference.
Ten people were pronounced dead at the scene and the 10 injured were listed in stable to critical condition at area hospitals including Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, Meyer said.
When Monterey Park police officers arrived they saw numerous patrons pouring out of the business, screaming, Meyer said.
The suspect was described as male, and a firearm was used, Meyer said. He fled the scene.
No description was given of the shooter or the weapon.
Detectives will review surveillance video and “work every lead in the case,” he said.
The motive for the attack was not yet known. “We will look at every angle as to whether it was a hate crime or not,” Meyer said.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives were also in nearby Alhambra investigating a reported shooting attempt at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in the 100 block of South Garfield Avenue to determine whether the two incidents were connected.
“Today we mourn with Monterey Park. Our condolences to the families of those killed, our prayers for a swift recovery of those injured, and let’s get the savage(s) responsible behind bars,” said Alex Villanueva, former Sheriff of Los Angeles County.
A news videographer at the scene in Alhambra said people at the business were able to disarm the male suspect, who fled the scene, and no injuries were reported.
The Monterey Park shooting occurred about an hour after thousands of people had been in the area for the first day of the two-day Lunar New Year festival that had ended before the shots were fired. Most of the crowds had already left the area.
Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese told reporters the second day of the event scheduled for Sunday has been canceled “out of an abundance of caution.”
Witnesses at the scene told the Los Angeles Times that a heavily armed man entered Monterey Park dance studio Saturday and opened fire.
Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from the shooting site said three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door because a man with a semiautomatic gun was in the area, the Times reported.
They told Choi the shooter had multiple rounds of ammunition and was able to reload his weapon, according to the paper.
Video from the scene showed first responders from other jurisdictions helping their Monterey Park counterparts. Patrol vehicles from Alhambra and El Monte were observed as well as an ambulance from South Pasadena.
The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the FBI are also assisting with the investigation.
Mayors from neighboring cities tweeted their support for Monterey Park after hearing about the mass shooting.
My heart goes out to Monterey Park and the families and friends of those lost. pic.twitter.com/OAg90QlRlL— Mayor Karen Bass (@MayorOfLA) January 22, 2023
Saturday’s shooting was the worst mass shooting in Los Angeles County since a disgruntled ex-husband killed 10 people in Covina in 2008.
Monterey Park has a population of about 61,000, 66% of whom are Asian. Witnesses said several of Saturday’s victims were senior citizens who appeared to be Asian.
About 50% of Alhambra’s population is Asian.
Hate crimes targeting Asians increased by 339% nationwide in 2021, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism reported.
Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call sheriff’s homicide detectives at 323-890-5500 or leave anonymous tips on the Crime Stoppers line at 800-222-8477 or lacrimestoppers.org.