New York Daily News: By Peter Sblendorio – A manhunt for the suspect accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Los Angeles-area dance club continued Sunday with officials releasing images of the alleged gunman.
Authorities have not shared the suspect’s name following the Saturday night massacre at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, a city with a large Asian population. The rampage occurred after a Lunar New Year celebration.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the suspect is believed to be an Asian male between 30 and 50 years old. He said a white cargo van described by witnesses is of interest in their investigation.
In an update Sunday afternoon, Luna said he’s unsure if a white van involved in a barricade situation in nearby Torrance, Calif., was related to the shooting probe.
“We believe there is a person inside of that vehicle,” Luna said at a news conference. “We don’t know their condition.”
The shooter didn’t use a high-powered assault rifle, according to Luna. An incident at another dance hall in Alhambra, located several hours away from Monterey Park, could be related to the shooting, he said. That confrontation at Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra is said to have occurred 20 to 30 minutes after the Monterey Park attack.
“It’s definitely on our radar screen where a male Asian suspect walked into a dance hall … with a firearm, and some individuals wrestled the firearm away from him,” Luna said of the Alhambra incident. “That individual took off.”
The weapon from the Alhambra confrontation has since been obtained by officials, Luna said without giving further details.
Five males and five females were believed to be killed in the Monterey Park shooting, according to officials. They were pronounced dead at the scene. At least 10 other people were wounded, with their conditions ranging from stable to critical, authorities said.
“When officers arrived on scene, they observed numerous individuals, patrons of the location, pouring out of the location, screaming,” sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Meyer said Sunday.
The shooting occurred in Monterey Park’s downtown area, which is heavily decorated to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Previous years saw crowds of 100,000 attend the Lunar New Year celebration.
Data released on the Monterey Park website in 2020 said 65.6% of the city’s more than 61,000 residents were Asian. Many of the city’s residents moved from China.
“I thought maybe it was fireworks,” said resident Tony Lai, who heard the gunshots overnight. “I thought maybe it had something to do with Lunar New Year. And we don’t even get a lot of fireworks here. It’s weird to see this. It’s really safe here. We’re right in the middle of the city, but it’s really safe.”
The Sunday portion of the Lunar New Year festival was canceled after the shooting. Officials say it’s unclear whether the suspect knew anyone at the dance club.
“I am horrified and deeply saddened to learn about the attack in Monterey Park following a Lunar New Year festival,” said Rep. Grace Meng, a Queens Democrat and the first vice chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
“It is a truly devastating way to ring in the new year, and I condemn this terrible and senseless act of violence against the Asian American community. My heart goes out to all who are impacted.”
President Biden, the White House and Attorney General Merrick Garland have been briefed about the shooting, officials said.
“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred,” tweeted Kenneth Mejia, the Los Angeles city controller who last year became the first Asian American politician elected to a citywide office position.
“Monterey Park is home to one of the largest Asian communities in Los Angeles County and many were out celebrating the Lunar New Year.”
Saturday’s shooting is the deadliest in the US since 21 people — including 19 children — were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last May.
In November, five people died in a shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. Suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich was charged with more than 300 criminal counts, including first-degree murder and hate crimes.
With News Wire Services
This is a developing story.
Top Feature Photo: LA County Sheriff relesead a photo of the suspect, a male/adult/Asian. Investigators have identified him as a Homicide suspect and he should be considered armed and dangerous – LA County Sheriff