At least ten killed in shooting at SoCal dance studio ***UPDATE*** Sheriff provides suspect details

At least ten killed in shooting at SoCal dance studio ***UPDATE*** Sheriff provides suspect details
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

***UPDATE***

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna has provided some additional details of the suspect in the Ventura Park shooting, describing him as an Asian male between the ages of 30 and 50. The suspect is not in custody at this time, and Luna says he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Luna also says that at this time police don’t believe the suspect used an “assault weapon” in the attack, though he declined to provide any specific details about the firearm or if it had been recovered.

Luna also provided more details about a similar incident that happened in nearby Alhambra shortly after the Ventura Park shooting, where a man walked into a ballroom dance studio and pulled a gun.

Describing a possibly connected incident, Sheriff Luna said that an Asian male walked into a dance club in neighboring Alhambra with a gun, and that people inside wrestled the weapon away from him. The disarmed man then fled, the sheriff said. “We don’t know though at this time if it is connected,” he said.

The sheriff told the press that they have no known motive for the attack, but that efforts to track down the suspect are underway in conjunction with local, state, and federal law enforcement.

Original story below:

A massive manhunt in underway in southern California after police in the Los Angeles County community of Ventura Park say at least ten people were killed and at least ten more were injured in a shooting at a ballroom dance club and studio on Saturday night, about an hour after a Lunar New Year celebration had wrapped up on the street outside.

The shootings were first reported to police at 10:22 p.m. Saturday evening, and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Meyer says officers were able to quickly arrive on the scene.

“When officers arrived on scene they observed numerous individuals, patrons of the location, pouring out of the location screaming,” Meyer said. He said officers immediately entered the building, finding the dead and wounded. The wounded were taken to hospitals where their conditions range from stable to critical, Meyer said.

Video from the scene shows ambulances lined up awaiting people being loaded onto stretchers. Other photos showed bloodied and bandaged victims being treated by firefighters in a parking lot.

“The suspect fled the scene and remains outstanding,” Meyer said.

Authorities haven’t released a description of the suspect, describing him only as a male, but witnesses told the Los Angeles Times that the suspect appeared to be firing “indiscriminately” in the building full of revelers.

Meyer said investigators don’t know whether the victims were targeted. He said it was too early to know whether the shooting was a hate crime. “We will look at every angle,” Meyer said. There was no description of the weapon used other than it was a firearm, Meyer said.

Meyer said he’s aware of some kind of incident in the neighboring suburb of Alhambra, north of Monterey Park, “and we have investigators on scene trying to determine if there’s a connection between these two incidents.”

Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant on Garvey Avenue across from where the shooting happened, said three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door.

They said there was a man with a semiautomatic gun in the area. The shooter, they said, had multiple rounds of ammunition on him, so that once his ammunition ran out he reloaded, Choi said.

Wong Wei, who lives nearby, said his friend had gone to the dance club that night with a few of her friends. His friend was in the bathroom when the shooting started.

When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies — two women and one person who was the boss of the club, Wei said, adding that his friend escaped to his home around 11 p.m.

The shooter was carrying a long gun and appeared to fire indiscriminately, his friend told him.

“They don’t know why, so they run,” he said.

No one was injured in the reported shooting attempt in Alhambra, which authorities say took place at the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio located about two miles from the ballroom and dance studio in Monterey Park. Police are investigating whether the suspect traveled to that second location after the shooting in Monterey Park, but so far have not definitively said whether the two crime scenes are connected.

While authorities comb through the two crime scene the search for the killer is underway, and hopefully police will be able to provide a more detailed description of the suspect later today. In the meantime, if you’re the praying kind please keep the victims and their families in your thoughts. And if you’re a California gun owner, get ready for a renewed assault on your right to self-defense from lawmakers in Sacramento; something we’ll be talking more about here at Bearing Arms tomorrow. For today, however, the focus should be on those who are grieving… as well as the efforts to take the suspected killer into custody.