Monterey Park is in mourning. On Saturday evening, residents of this Californian city near Los Angeles, populated mainly by people of Asian origin, celebrated the Lunar New Year. But the festivities turned tragic when a man opened fire in a ballroom. In that shooting, he killed 10 people and wounded at least 10 more before fleeing, authorities said. A manhunt has begun in the city and the Southern California area.
“Police entered the scene and located more victims”, explained Captain Andrey Meyer. He told reporters that law enforcement responded to emergency calls. Rescue services “treated the injured and pronounced 10 of the victims dead at the scene”. “There are at least 10 other victims who have been transported to various local hospitals and are in stable to critical condition.” added. “The suspect fled the scene and is nowhere to be found.” Police did not provide a description of the suspect and did not specify the type of weapon he was using.
Investigators are also checking information about a possible link to an attempted shooting the same evening at another ballroom in the nearby town of Alhambra. According to American media, this shooting attempt was foiled, the suspect had been tackled on the ground and disarmed without causing any casualties.
A man with a semi-automatic rifle
US President Joe Biden has asked National Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall “Ensure that the FBI provides full support to local authorities”White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter.
Tens of thousands of people had gathered near the scene of the shooting for Lunar New Year festivities. These are scheduled over two days and are particularly important to the Asian community. But given the facts, the second day of the party was canceled on Sunday.
The owner of a nearby restaurant related his experience to Los Angeles Times. According to him, three people ran into the establishment and told him to close the door. Those three people said there was a man with a semi-automatic rifle loaded with ammunition who reloaded the gun regularly, the restaurateur told the paper.
“We will investigate all possibilities”
According to Captain Meyer, investigators do not yet know if the suspect knew the victims or if this was a targeted attack on a community. “We will investigate all possibilities”, he told reporters. He also said officers were reviewing CCTV footage. “It is too early in the investigation to know whether or not this event was a hate crime.”
To the United States , “hate crime” means an act against a person directed at elements of their identity such as race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or disability. It is an aggravated federal crime that carries harsher sentences.
Source : Le JDD