| 27 May 2024, Monday |

Ten dead in shooting near Los Angeles during Lunar New Year festivities

In a city on the eastern border of Los Angeles, a man shot and killed 10 people while they were celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year late on Saturday. He then fled the area, but authorities said he was still at large.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported early on Sunday morning, some five hours after the incident in Monterey Park, that at least 10 other persons had been injured and had been taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, with at least one being in critical condition.

When local police first arrived, people were “pouring out of the location screaming,” department captain Andrew Meyer told reporters in a news briefing at the scene.

At a later briefing, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said they believed the shooter, who remained at large nearly 11 hours after the attack, was an Asian man, based on “preliminary information” from eyewitnesses.

“We need to get this person off the street as soon as possible,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday morning, the sheriff’s department said it did not know whether the attack was racially motivated.

The shooting took place after 10 p.m. PST (0600 GMT on Sunday) around the location of a two-day Chinese Lunar New Year celebration where many downtown streets are closed for festivities that draw thousands of people from across Southern California. Police said the celebrations planned for Sunday were now cancelled.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people around 7 miles (11 km) from downtown Los Angeles. About two-thirds of its residents are Asian, according to U.S. Census data, and the city is known for its many Chinese restaurants and groceries. The sheriff’s department said it did not know whether the attack was racially motivated.

Video footage taken by local news media showed injured people, many of them appearing to be middle aged, being loaded into ambulances on stretchers.

Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant near the site of the attack, told the Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door because a man was unloading multiple rounds of ammunition at the dance club across the street.

According to the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden was informed about the attack and gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation instructions to support local authorities.

The attack in Monterey Park was the bloodiest since May 2022, when a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at a school in Uvalde, Texas. Mass shootings occur often in the United States. The deadliest shooting in California history occurred in 1984 at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, close to San Diego, when a shooter killed 21 people.

  • Reuters