The manhunt continued in Monterey Park, California, for a gunman who opened fire Saturday night at a ballroom dance studio near a Lunar New Year festival, killing 10 people and wounding an additional 10 before he possibly targeted a second dance hall and failed, investigators said Sunday morning.
There were still more questions than answers hours after the deadly shooting, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, who said few details were known about the suspect and the weapon used.
“The description we have now is of a male Asian,” Luna told reporters during a press conference. He emphasized it was a preliminary description and added that the suspect’s age may be between 30 and 50.
While Luna said authorities didn’t have definitive information about the firearm used because witnesses have given different descriptions, he told reporters that investigators at this time don’t believe it was an assault rifle.
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During the conference, Luna added, “We need to get this person off the street as soon as possible.”
Multiple rounds were fired at the dance club before Monterey Park police arrived at the scene at the 120 block of West Garvey Avenue around 10:22 p.m., Luna said.
Capt. Andrew Meyer from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau confirmed to reporters earlier Sunday that people were “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived. Responding officers entered the club without hesitation while firefighters triaged the wounded outside.
Police have confirmed that 10 victims, believed to be five males and five females, were pronounced dead at the scene, with 10 additional victims taken to local hospitals in various conditions that ranged from stable to critical. No further details about any victims were immediately available.
Luna said detectives were also investigating another incident that may be connected to the shooting that happened about 20 minutes later at the Lai Lai Ballroom in the nearby city of Alhambra.
A male Asian suspect entered the club with a firearm, which was wrestled away from him by patrons, according to Luna. The suspect fled the scene. No injuries were reported in the second incident.
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“Honestly, we don’t know the answer to that yet,” Luna said, referring to the possible connection between the two incidents. “It may be or may not be.”
Authorities said they could not release details about the firearm recovered at the scene in Alhambra but said it could be the same weapon used in the deadly shooting in Monterey Park.
When asked about a possible motive or whether the shooting could be a hate crime, Luna said that detectives were “looking at every possibility,” following multiple leads and interviewing dozens of witnesses.
Investigators said officials would have another update on the incident later Sunday.
The White House said earlier Sunday that Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall briefed President Joe Biden on the mass shooting.
Biden later tweeted that he is praying for the victims and is monitoring the situation closely.
Vice President Kamala Harris called the deadly shooting “a senseless act of gun violence.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom also called the attack in Monterey Park “horrific and heartless.”
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The Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park is one of California’s largest and had attracted tens of thousands throughout the day. Most of the residents of Monterey Park, a city of about 60,000 people that sits at the eastern edge of Los Angeles, are Asian immigrants from China or first-generation Asian Americans.
Officials said the lunar festival scheduled to take place at Monterey Park later Sunday was canceled due to the shooting.
The G3 Box News contributed to this report.