MONTEREY PARK, CA – Ten people were killed and at least 10 others were injured Saturday in a mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, police said.
WATCH | In the afternoon, police reported a shooting in Monterey Park
The suspect, whose name has not been released, is believed to be in a white cargo van in a parking lot in Torrance, Los Angeles County, police told ABC’s KABC. Aerial footage shows the van pinned between two armored police vehicles.
In addition to armored police vehicles, the van was surrounded by numerous police officers, including SWAT, many with weapons in hand and trained on the van.
VIDEO | SWAT teams surround a van in Torrance possibly connected to a shooting in Monterey Park
The standoff in Torrance came after the sheriff’s department released surveillance images of the suspect in the killing, saying he was wearing a beanie and glasses and was about 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the suspect fled the scene and remains at large. The motive has not been established.
Monterey Park is a small community of approximately 61,000 people, and it is a predominantly Asian community.
“We’re going to use every resource available to us because we need to get this person off the street,” Luna said.
WATCH: Police give update after fatal shooting in Monterey Park
Luna declined to comment on possible motives, but said “everything is on the table.”
“We don’t know that this was a hate crime as described by law,” Luna said. “Who walks into a dance hall and kills 20 people?”
Tony Lay, 35, of Monterey Park, was stunned when he went out for his morning walk to learn that the sounds he heard during the night were gunshots.
“I thought it was fireworks. I thought it was related to the Lunar New Year,” he said. “And we don’t even have a lot of fireworks. It’s amazing to see. It’s really safe here. We’re right in the middle of the city, but it’s really safe.”
The dead victims are five men and five women, officials said at a press conference.
Authorities said the shooting happened Saturday just after 10 p.m. The suspect entered a ballroom dance facility on West Harvey Avenue and opened fire.
A Lunar New Year celebration was taking place nearby, but the shooting did not take place at the festival, authorities said.
When deputies arrived, people were running out of the dance hall, officials said during a press conference.
“We are serious about catching this suspect and bringing him to justice,” said Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese.
A motive is not yet known, and it was unclear if the suspect knew the victims. The victims were taken to area hospitals and were listed in stable to critical condition.
Police in the nearby city of Alhambra were investigating an incident that also happened at a dance studio that may have been linked to the shooting, Luna said. In the Alhambra incident, which occurred 17 minutes after the Monterey Park shooting, an Asian man entered a dance studio with a gun and several people wrested his weapon from him before he fled the scene. Luna said the white cargo van seen by witnesses during the Alhambra incident is a “vehicle of interest” in the investigation.
The FBI responded to assist. White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre tweeted that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting.
“Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park. I am closely monitoring this situation as it develops and urge the public to follow the directions of local officials and law enforcement in the coming hours,” Biden said in a statement.
In the first warnings sent to Washington, investigators said “they had no idea who the suspect was,” Pierre Thomas, ABC News’ chief court correspondent, told ABC’s “This Week.”
US Attorney General Merrick Garland has also been briefed on the shooting, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
The city of Monterey Park hosted a Lunar New Year festival this weekend, marking the beginning of the Chinese lunar calendar. The annual two-day street festival is well attended, with previous celebrations drawing up to 100,000 visitors daily, according to the city. Saturday’s events were scheduled to end at 9 p.m
The festival is canceled for Sunday. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Squad at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
The tragedy was not only the fifth mass shooting in the United States since the beginning of the year, but also the deadliest since May 24, when 21 people were killed at a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to the Associated Press/USA Today database. murders in the United States
The database also shows that 2022 was also one of the nation’s worst years for mass murders, with 42 such attacks, the second-highest number since the tracker began in 2006. The database defines a mass murder as four people killed, not including the perpetrator.
The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.
ABC News contributed to this report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Check for updates.
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