Tuesday, February 7, 2023

L.A. Man kills 10 at Lunar New Year celebration

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. ( Associated Press) – A man killed 10 people at a dance studio and then apparently tried unsuccessfully to enter another ballroom amid a Lunar New Year celebration, authorities said Monday. sunday.

In a search that lasted several hours, police had to surround and enter a white van, but it is not yet known whether the suspect was inside.

The shooting and manhunt sparked panic in Asian-American communities in the Los Angeles area and overshadowed Lunar New Year celebrations across the country. Other cities beefed up security for the celebrations.

Los Angeles County Police Chief Robert Luna said five women and five men were killed and 10 others were injured in the shooting at the Starr Ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park. About 20 to 30 minutes later, a gun-wielding man entered the nearby Lai Lai Ballroom, in downtown Alhambra.

Authorities believe the two incidents are related. He did not elaborate on a reason.

In both cases the suspect was described as an Asian male. Luna said that he entered the Alhambra room with a gun and that those present there managed to disarm him.

Around noon, police officers in tactical vehicles and bomb squad vans surrounded a white van in a parking lot 22 miles (35.4 kilometers) from the Alhambra in Torrance, another major Asian community.

Luna said hours earlier that officers were searching for a white van after witnesses saw the suspect fleeing the Alhambra in such a vehicle.

“We believe there is a person inside that vehicle. We don’t know his condition, but we’re going to deal with it as best we can and try to identify that person. Can you be our suspect? Maybe,” Luna said.

In response to a question, Luna reveals that the person hiding in the van may be dead.

Shortly thereafter SWAT team members entered the vehicle and searched its contents before driving away. It is not clear what they found.

Authorities said Sunday they knew the suspect’s name but declined to release him because it could make his arrest more difficult. But they released a photo that shows an Asian man wearing glasses and a winter hat. The image was taken during an attempted shooting at the Alhambra.

The police chief declined to say what type of weapon was recovered in the Alhambra. He said investigators believe the weapon used in Monterey Park was not an assault rifle.

The massacre was the fifth mass killing in the country so far this month. It was also the deadliest attack since May 24, when 21 people were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Monterey Park is a city located on the eastern edge of Los Angeles with a population of approximately 60,000 and composed mostly of first-generation Asian immigrants from China or Asian Americans. The shooting took place in the centre, where the streets were decorated with red lanterns for the Lunar New Year festivities. “Happy Year of the Rabbit!”

The Monterey Park festival is one of the largest in California and attracted thousands of people throughout the day.

Two days of festivities were planned, which in previous years have been attended by over 100,000 people. But officials canceled Sunday’s event after the shootings.

Tony Lai, 35, of Monterey Park, was stunned when he went out for his morning walk to discover he had heard gunshots the night before.

“I thought maybe it was fireworks. I thought maybe it had something to do with Lunar New Year,” he said. “And there aren’t a lot of fireworks here. It’s weird to see. It’s a very safe place. It is in the middle of the city but it is very safe.”

Wynn Liaw, 57, who lives about two blocks from the Monterey Park studios, said he was surprised such a crime would happen, especially during New Year’s celebrations.

“The Chinese regard the Chinese New Year as something very special,” a time when “nothing is done that brings bad luck for the rest of the year.”

He took a photo of what was happening outside the studio to send to family and friends in China “so they know how crazy America is going with all these mass shootings, even on New Year’s.”

An Associated Press/USA Today database of mass killings in the United States shows that 2022 was one of the worst years, with 42 such attacks, the second highest number since the tracker was created in 2006. Database data defines mass murder as four. People killed not including criminals.

Two months earlier, five people had been murdered at a Colorado Springs nightclub.

President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were briefed on the situation, their aides said.

The shooting took place at Star Ballroom Dance Studio, located a few blocks from City Hall on Garvey Avenue, the main artery of Monterey Park, which is lined with small businesses with signs in English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are spoken in the city, Chinese festivals are held, and Chinese films are shown frequently.

The business offered dance classes from tango to rumba and fox trot and rented out its space for events. On Saturdays, its website indicated that an event called “Night of the Stars” was taking place from 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm.

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Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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