Police engaged in a confrontation on Sunday with someone they believe could be responsible for a mass shooting that left 10 people dead at a dance club during the Lunar New Year celebrations in New York. California.
At least 10 other people were injured in a mass shooting where a gunman – described by police as Asian – opened fire indiscriminately at a club in Monterey Park, near Los Angeles, witnesses said.
“We are using all resources to arrest this suspect in what we believe is one of the most heinous crimes in the county,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said.
Luna said police responded to emergency calls shortly after 10pm on Saturday (0600 GMT Sunday) and saw people pouring out of the premises.
“Unfortunately,” he added, paramedics “declared 10 victims dead at the scene.”
Five of the dead were women and five men, officials said, without providing ages or names.
At least 10 people were injured, Luna said, some of them in critical condition.
Luna also described a second incident in nearby Alhambra about 20 minutes later, in which an Asian man carrying a gun entered a dance studio but was restrained and disarmed. The man fled and no injuries were reported.
The Alhambra is about two miles north of Monterey Park. Luna said investigators are investigating whether the cases are related.
Late Sunday morning, police engaged in a confrontation, surrounding a vehicle in Torrance, south of Los Angeles.
Aerial footage shows a white van surrounded by armored police vehicles, while a large number of police vehicles stand nearby, inside a large police barricade.
The Los Angeles Times reported, citing a law enforcement source, that shots were fired at the scene.
Luna said a “tactical incident” was underway.
“We believe there was a person inside that vehicle. We don’t know their condition, but we will handle it as safely as possible to try to identify that person.
“Could it be our suspect? Probably.”
The development came when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released photos of the man they were looking for.
The image, apparently from a surveillance camera, shows an Asian man wearing a beanie and glasses.
Monterey Park, just a few miles from downtown Los Angeles, is home to about 60,000 people, most of them Asian or Asian-American.
“We don’t know if this is a legally defined hate crime,” said Luna, “but who walks into a disco and shoots down 20 people?”
Although the gunman remains outlawed, the sheriff said it was safe for everyone to attend Lunar New Year events in the area.
An AFP reporter said Monterey Park deputy sheriffs remained at the scene, with decorations set up for the Lunar New Year unreasonably hung by police tape.
A banner above the road reads “Happy Year of the Rabbit”.
US President Joe Biden tweeted that he and his wife Jill were “praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park,” adding, “I am following keep a close eye on the situation.”
It was the deadliest mass shooting in the US since a shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 22 people dead at an elementary school last May.
Wong Wei, a resident of Monterey Park, told the Los Angeles Times that his friend was in the bathroom of the dance club when the shooting broke out.
When she came out, she saw a man carrying a long gun and shooting indiscriminately. The bodies of two women and a man lay on the floor.
The newspaper reported that Seung Won Choi, the owner of a nearby restaurant, said three people ran into the premises and asked him to lock the door.
The three told Choi that there was a man with a semi-automatic gun that was loaded with bullets and reloaded continuously.
Tens of thousands of people had gathered earlier for the two-day Lunar New Year festival, one of the biggest in the region. Events scheduled for Sunday were canceled following the attack.
“My heart breaks for the victims, their families and the people of my hometown,” Rep. Judy Chu, former mayor of Monterey Park, wrote on Twitter.
Chu was at the scene, attending the festival a few hours before the shooting, when the crowd was still large. “This could have been a lot worse,” she said.
Officials said detectives are reviewing surveillance video and it is not yet known whether the suspect targeted a specific group.
The US Department of Justice says there will be more than 7,000 hate crimes reported in the US in 2021, two-thirds of which are race-related.
Gun violence is a big problem in the United States, where there were 647 mass shootings last year, with at least four people killed by a gunman, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
In addition to the California shooting, 12 more people were injured in a shooting at a nightclub in Louisiana, local media reported.
More than 44,000 people will die from gunshot wounds in 2022 across the United States, more than half of which are suicides.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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