Police in California said that the suspect who opened fire at a dance club as revelers celebrated the Chinese New Year on Saturday has been described as an Asian man. The gunman killed 10 people, while 10 others were seriously injured in the massacre at the Monterey Park dance hall on Saturday night.
The search for the gunman intensified on Sunday morning as he still remains at large. Law enforcement officials said it is still unclear if the suspect is linked to another shooting two miles down the road. Among the 10 dead, five are men while five are women. This comes as a horrific photo has emerged that shows a victim lying dead inside the dance club after the shooting.
Hunt for Asian Man
Contrary to initial reports that the gunman was a White man, law enforcement officials said on Sunday morning that the suspect is an Asian man, who used an assault-style rifle to shoot dead 10 people who were celebrating the Chinese New Year. The update arrived as a desperate manhunt remains underway.
According to the Los Angeles Sheriff, a man with a gun opened fire at the ballroom during a Chinese New Year celebration in Monterey Park. The shooting took place at 10:22 pm, according to police.
The lone gunman had fled the scene, and it was unclear if his ghastly attack was targeted, or motivated by hate, officials said at a press conference Sunday.
Horrifying photos taken at the site showed victims being stretched out before being brought to the hospital as police and ambulances surrounded the area.
One chilling photo shows a man lying dead inside the club while others around him are seen running away to save themselves from the gunman. The gunman cannot be seen in the photo. So far, this is the only photo from inside the dance club where the shooting took place.
Police reported that hordes of terrified festival-goers ran out of the area "screaming" as the shooting continued.
Cops added that they were looking into any connections between that shooting and another that occurred at the nearby Lai Lai Ballroom. There were no fatalities in Alhambra but the studio is currently shut down until further notice.
The Lunar New Year celebrations that were slated to take place on Sunday in and around the dance hall have been canceled by Monterey Park.
Police said that they are still not sure if the attack was targeted. However, there is now a high chance that the attack may have been targeted given that the suspect has been identified as an Asian man.
The 10 people who were hurt but not immediately declared dead, were left in stable to serious condition, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.
"I see it in their eyes," Luna said of his officers' intense quest for the perpetrator. They're going to go after this guy because they want to. He noted that it was still unknown whether the carnage at the ballroom was related to a second shooting that happened two kilometers away minutes later.
Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said that, while it is now safe to join Lunar New Year celebrations in other parts of the town, the investigation that was started today is extensive and "will go on for many days and perhaps many months."
Seung Won Choi, the owner of a nearby eatery, told the LA Times that three men barged into his establishment and ordered him to lock the door. Choi claims that he was told that there was a man carrying a machine gun and that the incident occurred at a dance club.
He stated that the man had a number of rounds of ammo and would reload whenever he ran out.
Local resident Wong Wei told the Los Angeles Times that when gunfire started, his friend, who was at the dance club, was in the restroom.
When she came out, she claimed to have seen a shooter and three bodies: two women and one man, whom he claimed to be the club's manager.
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's Captain Andrew Meyer said that the injured were transferred to hospitals and their conditions from stable to critical. Meyer claimed that 10 people died there and then.
According to him, once firefighters finished treating the injured, cops entered the dance hall. According to the sheriff's deputy, "It is an isolated incidence."