Nine dead in mass shooting in Asian city in California

Police patrol the scene along Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park, California, on 21 January, where police are responding to reports of multiple people shot. Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

Nine people have died in a mass shooting in a predominantly Asian city in southern California, local law enforcement said Sunday.

“Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide detectives are responding to assist Monterey Park Police Department with a shooting death investigation. There are nine deceased,” a statement said.

The suspect is male, the statement added, but there was no information on whether he had been captured or was still at large.

Monterey Park, about eight miles (13 kilometers) east of downtown Los Angeles, is home to a large number of ethnic Asians.

Reports said the shooting came at a dance venue an hour after a Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday.

Local resident Wong Wei told the Los Angeles Times his friend had been at the dance club, and had been in the bathroom when the shooting erupted.

When she emerged, she saw a gunman and three bodies — two women and one person who he said was the boss of the club.

The paper reported that Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant near the scene said three people had run into his restaurant and told him to lock the door.

The three said there was a man with a semiautomatic gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him, and would reload every time he ran out, Choi told the paper.

The Times reported that tens of thousands of people had gathered earlier in the day for the two-day Lunar New Year festival, which is one of the largest in southern California.

Monterey Park, is home to around 61,000 people, the majority of them Asian or Asian American.

Gun violence is a huge problem in the United States, which saw 647 mass shootings last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive website, defined as an incident with four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter.

More than 44,000 people died from gunshot wounds in 2022, more than half of which were suicides.

The country has more weapons than people: one in three adults owns at least one weapon and nearly one in two adults lives in a home where there is a weapon.


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