MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — At least nine people were killed in a mass shooting at a business in a city east of Los Angeles late Saturday following a Lunar New Year celebration that attracted thousands, police said.
The shooting in Monterey Park was reported at 10:22 p.m. and occurred at an unspecified business on Garvey Ave., Sgt. Bob Boese of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. The shooter is a male, Boese said early Sunday. It was unclear if he was still being sought, was captured or was among those who had been killed.
Officials provided no information for several hours after dozens of police officers responded to reports of the shooting.
Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 residents with a large Asian population about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from downtown Los Angeles.
It marked the fifth mass shooting in the U.S. this month and the deadliest since 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S. The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.
Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting happened, told the Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.
The people also told Choi that there was a shooter with a gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him. Choi said he believes the shooting took place at a dance club.
Boese did not name the business but said it was in the 120 block of Garvey Ave. One business along that block is Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where an event called “Star Night” was held from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., according to a calendar on its website.
Wong Wei, who lives nearby, told the Los Angeles Times that his friend was in a bathroom at a dance club that night when the shooting started. When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies.
The friend then fled to his home at around 11 p.m., Wei said, adding that his friends told him that the shooter appeared to fire indiscriminately with a long gun. “They don’t know why, so they run,” he told the newspaper.
The shooting occurred near where thousands of people had attended a Lunar New Year celebration. Saturday was the start of the two-day festival, which is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California.
Videos posted on social media showed people being loaded onto stretchers and placed into ambulances. Other photos showed bloodied and bandaged victims being treated by Monterey Park firefighters in a parking lot.
Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.