Ten people shot dead in Monterey Park

Ten people shot dead in Monterey Park

BAt least 10 people were killed and 10 others injured in a gun attack in California late Saturday night. According to police, a gunman fired in a performance hall at a dance school in the city of Monterey Park, near Los Angeles, killing five women and five men, most of them in their 50s and 60s.

Sofia Dreisbach

North American political correspondent based in Washington.

The suspect was found dead in a pickup truck in Torrance, about 25 miles from Monterey Park. As the police in Los Angeles announced on Sunday (local time), the suspect apparently shot himself after a chase. It was a 72-year-old man of Asian origin. “The suspect sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said. The motive for the attack is not yet known.

US President Joe Biden ordered nationwide mourning flags. According to this, the flags on public buildings should be set at half-mast by January 26th. The order was “a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence,” the White House said in a statement.

Act on the Lunar New Year Festival

According to the census, 65 percent of the approximately 61,000 inhabitants of Monterey Park are of Asian origin. Near the scene of the crime, tens of thousands celebrated the Lunar New Year on Saturday evening, the beginning of the calendar year in Asia. Monterey Park traditionally celebrates this holiday with a two-day festival, one of the largest in the region.

An officer described that when police arrived at the scene, they saw “numerous people pouring out of the place screaming.” Ten people were found dead inside. The friend of an eyewitness told the Los Angeles Times that she was in the bathroom when the first shots were fired. When she returned to the hall, she saw the shooter and three lifeless people. One is said to have been the owner of the dance school. The perpetrator fired indiscriminately into the crowd.

“Probably not an assault rifle”

The police have not yet given any precise information about the weapon used by the perpetrator; the eyewitness reports also differed in this case. It’s still under investigation, but it was “probably not an assault rifle,” District Sheriff Luna said on Sunday. It has not yet been clarified how often the perpetrator fired. Eyewitnesses had previously reported to American media about a man with a semi-automatic weapon and lots of ammunition. The dance school should be a place in the neighborhood that is often used for meetings.

Police say they are investigating a possible link to a second incident Saturday night in Alhambra, a town neighboring Monterey Park. There, those present in another dance school, four kilometers from the later crime scene, are said to have succeeded in disarming a “male, Asian-born” attacker. However, he was then able to escape. The Lunar New Year was an official holiday in the state of California for the first time this year.

In the United States, there are repeated gun attacks with many deaths. The attack in the town of Monterey Park comes less than a week after two gunmen stormed a home in Tulare County, California, shooting dead six people, including a 16-year-old mother and her 10-month-old child. The police suspect gang violence in this case.

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