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Monterey Park shooting: Ten dead and suspect at large

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    1 hour ago

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Image source, Getty Images

A gunman is still at large after killing at least 10 people near Los Angeles in one of California’s deadliest mass shootings.

Another 10 people were wounded and some are in a critical condition.

The shooting in Monterey Park, which has a large Asian population, happened shortly after thousands of people had gathered for a Lunar New Year festival.

The gunman opened fire on a busy dance studio in the downtown area of the city.

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Officers arrived at the scene at 22:22 local time on Saturday (06:22 GMT on Sunday) and found people “pouring out of the location screaming”, Captain Andrew Meyer said.

Victims were treated both inside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio and in the car park outside, police said.

Officers are hunting for a male suspect between the age of 30 and 50 who fled the scene, but have received different descriptions of the attacker. Dozens of witnesses are being interviewed.

“We need to get this person off the street as soon as possible,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference on Sunday.

He gave no details about the weapon used but said the suspect may have fled in a white van. The motive for the attack is still unclear.

The centre of Monterey Park, including West Garvey Avenue where the shooting happened, was decorated for Lunar New Year with red lanterns and banners.

The celebration is one of the largest in California and attracted tens of thousands of people throughout the day.

Two days of celebrations were planned, but officials cancelled Sunday’s events following the shooting.

There is a large police presence in the city – which is about seven miles (11km) east of downtown Los Angeles – and much of the area near the dance studio has been sealed off.

Police are investigating the possibility that the suspect entered a second dance studio around 30 minutes after the attack.

The weapon he was carrying was wrestled from him by someone at the Alhambra dance studio, according to police. No one was injured at that location.

“We believe that there’s an incident that may be related,” Sheriff Luna said. “It’s definitely on our radar.”

Monterey Park map

Chester Chong, the chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Los Angeles, told BBC News the community had been stunned by the attack.

“This just should not happen,” he said, adding that he was worried for his friend who owns the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

Others who were in the area at the time of the attack said they heard sounds they thought were fireworks. “I thought maybe it had something to do with Lunar New Year,” Tony Lai, 35, told the Associated Press.

One eyewitness said three people ran into his restaurant and told him to lock the door as there was a man with a machine gun in the area.

Video shared on social media showed police and firefighters rushing to an area on Garvey Avenue and treating the victims.

The attack is one of the worst shootings in California’s modern history – the deadliest was in 1984, when a gunman killed 21 people at a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, near San Diego.

President Joe Biden had been briefed and has ordered the FBI to support the local authorities, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

The mayor of Alhambra, Sasha Renée Pérez, said it was “especially painful” the tragedy happened on a Lunar New Year weekend.

“Residents should be celebrating with family, friends and loved ones – not fearing gun violence,” she said.

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, described the shooting as a “horrific and heartless” act of gun violence and expressed his sympathies.

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