Shooting, California, Chinese lunar year festivities
The status of the shooter - believed to be a male - is not known at this time | Pic: Twitter

10 killed in a shooting near Los Angeles amid Chinese New Year festivities

The killing happened at Monterey Park, a city of about 60,000 people with a large Asian population that's about 16 km from downtown Los Angeles

A mass shooting on Saturday night in a city east of Los Angeles resulted in the deaths of 10 persons, according to police. The incident occurred following a celebration for the Chinese Lunar New Year, which had attracted a large crowd.

Sgt. Bob Boese of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the shooting was reported at 10:22 p.m. and occurred at a business on Garvey Ave. in Monterey Park. The shooter is a male, Boese said early Sunday.

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Captain Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported that upon arriving at the scene, officers encountered numerous individuals who had fled the location in a panicked state, and upon entering the building, discovered additional victims. All surviving victims were then transported to the hospital.

The department said the suspect was male, but it was not clear if he was still at large.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people with a large Asian population that’s about 16 km from downtown Los Angeles.

Reporters from AFP, who were present at the scene, reported a heavy police presence and cordoned off areas with helicopters flying overhead. Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia expressed condolences via Twitter, saying “Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighbouring city, Monterey Park.”

Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting happened, told the Los Angles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.

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The people also told Choi that there was a shooter with a machine gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him so he could reload. Choi said he believes the shooting took place at a dance club.

A local resident, Wong Wei, informed The Los Angeles Times that his friend was in a bathroom at a dance club when the shooting occurred. According to Wei, upon exiting the bathroom, his friend witnessed a gunman and three bodies.

The friend subsequently fled to Wei’s home at around 11 p.m. Wei also mentioned that his friends reported the shooter seemed to be firing indiscriminately with a long gun and nobody knew the reason behind the shooting.

Saturday was the start of the two-day festival, which is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California.

Frequent mass shootings occur in the United States, which has the highest rate of privately owned firearms worldwide. The most fatal shooting event in California occurred in 1984, when a shooter took the lives of 21 individuals at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, close to San Diego.

(With Agency inputs)
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