Monterey Park Lunar New Year Shooting Updates: Fugitive Gunman

Monterey Park Lunar New Year Shooting Updates: Fugitive Gunman

Police in Torrance, Ca. have invaded a white van potentially linked to the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, more than 13 hours after the mass shooting that left ten people dead and ten others injured after a Lunar New Year festival in Monterey Park , California, on Saturday night.

Authorities have yet to confirm if the person in the van is the suspect or if the locked vehicle is the same van that police say is possibly connected to the shooting.

“Could you be our suspect? Possibly,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.

Luna published images of the alleged gunman in a cheep today, he asked for help identifying an Asian man, saying he should be considered “armed and dangerous.”

The shared image was from a separate incident that occurred nearly 20 minutes after the shooting at the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in Alhambra, California, about two miles away.

However, Sheriff Luna said he could not 100% confirm whether the two incidents were connected during a second press conference Sunday.

During a news conference Sunday morning, Luna only gave a broad description of the gunman, but also noted that authorities had received different descriptions of the suspect. Luna still encouraged residents to go out and enjoy the Lunar New Year events.

“We are here to tell you that we are using all resources to apprehend this suspect, in what we believe to be the most egregious cases in the county,” Luna said at the news conference.

The shooting occurred around 10:20 p.m. in the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue in the city of about 60,000 people nine miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Monterey Park’s population is approximately 66% Asian American, with approximately half of that population being of Chinese origin. The area where the shooting occurred is home to numerous noodle shops and other businesses that cater to the Chinese-American community.

“It’s hard to believe that [this] it happened here in Monterey Park,” Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo said at the press conference. “I want the community to be assured that our police department will continue every day to protect the safety of all.”

This is what we know so far.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Capt. Andrew Meyer briefs the media in Monterey Park, Calif., on Jan. 22, 2023. (Frederic J. Brown—AFP/Getty Images)

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Captain Andrew Meyer briefs the media in Monterey Park, California on January 22, 2023.

Frederic J. Brown—AFP/Getty Images

What happened

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has released few details about the shooting. They were called at 10:22 p.m. to reports that shooting was taking place in the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue.

The shooting is believed to have occurred at a dance studio and ballroom, according to CNN. However, the sheriff’s department has not released the name of the business.

“When officers arrived on scene, they observed numerous people, patrons…leaving the premises, yelling,” Sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Meyer said at a news conference early Sunday morning.

Officers then entered the business and found several other victims who had been shot. The Monterey Park Fire Department arrived and pronounced ten people, five men and five women, dead at the scene. At least 10 other people were taken to local hospitals, some in critical condition. The victims have yet to be identified and no other information has been released.

Seung Won Choi, owner of a seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from the shooting, told the Los Angeles Times that three people ran into his restaurant and asked him to lock the door. He alleges the shooter had several rounds of ammunition and reloaded his gun after it was depleted.

Sheriff Luna said police had not yet identified the weapon, but confirmed that authorities did not believe it was an assault rifle.

Edwin Chen, who grew up in the area, says he came running from Woodland Hills when he heard the news. “This (was supposed to be) a happy time,” he said. “I want to find out as much as possible. It’s still shocking.”

Police have yet to confirm that the deadly shooting was related to another incident that occurred nearly 20 minutes later at the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in Alhambra, California, about two miles from the shooting.

At Alhambra, officials are still interviewing dozens of witnesses but believe the suspect entered the ballroom with a gun before bystanders “struggled with the gun.” The suspect then left, Luna said at the news conference. Witnesses also identified a white cargo van that police surrounded in Torrance on Sunday morning. Multiple shots were fired, according to LA Times.

The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office is working with the sheriff’s department’s homicide bureau, Monterey Park Police, as the investigation continues.

This marks the 33rd mass shooting this year alone, and the fifth mass murder shooting, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

A police helicopter flies over Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, Calif., on Jan. 22, 2023. (Jae C. Hong—AP)

A police helicopter flies over Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California on January 22, 2023.

Jae C. Hong—AP

What do we know about the gunman?

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office released photos of the suspected gunman Sunday afternoon, noting that investigators had identified him as a homicide suspect who should be considered armed and dangerous.

The suspect was described as an Asian man between the ages of 30 and 50. Police say he was wearing a black leather jacket, beanie and glasses at the time of the shooting.

Meyer said investigators have no information on a possible motive for the shooting. “We’re going to look at all angles,” she said.

When asked if this event would be labeled a hate crime, Sheriff Luna said it could be a possibility. “We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime defined by law, but who walks into a dance hall and shoots 20 people,” he said Sunday morning.

Authorities have not yet released the suspect’s name, but said it is a “priority to apprehend” the person in the image and are asking residents who recognize the man to provide leads. “We believe that if we publish his name we will inhibit our ability to potentially arrest the suspect if he is out there, or perhaps flee. So please be patient with us,” Luna added at a press conference at noon on Sunday.

What do we know about the celebration of the festival?

The shooting took place a block from the city’s Lunar New Year celebration, one of the largest in Southern California. The event, which was to last until Sunday, has registered more than 100,000 visitors per day in previous years. This year, the event kicked off on Saturday with carnival rides, traditional New Year’s lion and dragon dancers, and vendors unique to the event.

Thousands of guests had already gathered for the event on Saturday, which was scheduled to last until 9:00 p.m.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who was on hand for the city’s first Lunar New Year celebration since the pandemic, noted that the celebration would draw families to Monterey Park year after year. “Seeing hundreds of thousands of people in Garvey [Ave.], knowing that people could go out after the pandemic to celebrate and see the family, “he said. “This was a welcoming place.”

The festival has now been canceled by the city. Sheriff Luna noted that security would be added at all Lunar New Year events in the area. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore tweeted that additional patrols would be implemented in Asian communities and that the department would meet with event organizers.

“I encourage people to come out and enjoy the events,” Luna said during Monday’s press conference.

Local residents watch police investigate the scene of a mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif., on Jan. 22, 2023. (Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images)

Local residents watch police investigate the scene of a mass shooting in Monterey Park, California on January 22, 2023.

Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images

What is the reaction to the shooting?

The City of Monterey Park announced that it was canceling the second day of the Lunar New Year festival, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday, January 22, in response to the shooting. “The City expresses its condolences to the individuals, families and friends who were injured in this tragic incident,” he said in the statement Sunday morning.

A victim resource center has been established at the Langley Senior Citizen Center for survivors and families of victims. Officials ask anyone who has not been able to locate a family member to contact the center for help.

President Joe Biden is aware of the shooting and was informed by National Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, according to a cheep by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Biden also ordered the FBI to provide “full support” to the local police force.

Governor Gavin Newsom said his heart was heavy when he learned more about last night’s tragedy. “Monterey Park should have had a night of joyous Lunar New Year celebrations,” tweeted Newsom on Sunday morning. “Instead, they were the victims of a horrifying and ruthless act of gun violence.”

Rep. Judy Chu, who represents Monterey Park, said she is “monitoring the situation closely.”

“My heart is broken for the victims, their families and the people of my hometown, Monterey Park, who were affected by the mass shooting that took place during a night of Lunar New Year celebrations,” Chu said in a statement. Twitter.

Diamond Bar, California Mayor Andrew Chou also tweeted about the incident on Sunday.

“Our prayers are with our friends and colleagues in the great city of Monterey Park,” Chou wrote. “We stand ready to provide our support during this difficult time as we await further confirmed details of an alleged mass shooting incident.”

Mayor Sasha Renee Pérez of Alhambra expressed similar support, where a possible related incident occurred. “Our community stands ready to do everything possible to support all those affected,” she said. tweeted.

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