The suspect in a shooting that killed 10 people and injured 10 others at a Los Angeles-area dance studio fatally shot himself, authorities announced on Sunday evening.
Officials held a press conference at Monterey Park City Hall offering details about a standoff that ended hours earlier in Torrance, California, which is about 30 miles southwest of the mass shooting scene in Monterey Park where people gathered on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said police officers pulled up Sunday morning behind a white cargo van and followed it to a shopping center parking lot. When the officers left their patrol vehicle to contact the occupant they heard a single gun shot coming from within the vehicle, Luna said. After the officers retreated and requested tactical support, a SWAT team determined the suspect had died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Luna said.
— ABC 10News San Diego (@10News) January 23, 2023
Luna identified the suspect at the evening press conference, but The Daily Wire is not naming him in keeping with a policy of depriving mass shooters of undeserved notoriety. Earlier, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released a bulletin seeking the public’s help in finding the suspect. It featured photos of the suspect and described him as adult Asian man wearing a black leather jacket, beanie, and glasses.
The bulletin said the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous, but Luna stressed his department did not immediately release a name over concerns the disclosure would “inhibit” authorities in making an arrest.
On Saturday January 21, 2023 at 10:22 PM the suspect male/adult/Asian pictured above was involved in a shooting. Investigators have identified him as a Homicide suspect and he should be considered armed and dangerous.
Contact LASD Homicide with any information at 323-890-5000. pic.twitter.com/2gPUBBybvv
— Robert Luna (@LACoSheriff) January 22, 2023
Authorities were not ready to announce a motive as of Sunday evening but an investigation is ongoing. “We want to know how something this awful can happen,” Luna said at the press conference.
The violence started around 10:22 p.m. Saturday night when a gunman opened fire at a dance studio near a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, killing at least 10 people and wounded 10 others before the suspect fled the scene, according to authorities.
Paramedics declared five men and five women dead at the scene, Luna said during a news conference earlier in the day Sunday. The injured victims were taken to nearby hospitals, where their conditions ranged from stable to critical, The Los Angeles Times reported. Luna said seven remained hospitalized as of Sunday evening. The sheriff did not identify any of the victims, but described them as being in their 50s, 60s, or even older.
Officials said a second incident took place within a half hour of the Monterey Park shooting at another dance hall in nearby Alhambra. Two people managed to wrestle a firearm from an armed male Asian suspect before the suspect took off, according to Luna, who noted witnesses saw the suspect flee in a white cargo van, leading to the bulletin. “They saved lives,” Luna said of the two individuals who disarmed the suspect.
In the latest press conference, Luna described the weapon that was recovered from the Alhambra scene as an semi-automatic “assault pistol” with an extended magazine. In response to a reporter’s question, Luna said he believes the weapon was not legal to have in the state of California but stressed that he needed to investigate further. The sheriff said another handgun was found in the van and “several pieces of evidence” linking the suspect to both incidents.
Earlier in the day, dramatic images showed armored vehicles trapping the white cargo van during a traffic stop. Aerial video from KABC from the scene later showed what appeared to be SWAT team members smashing windows to gain entry into the van.
NEW – SWAT officers smash out front window and enter the Torrance van believed to be tied to #MontereyPark shooting – images on delay, officers in information gathering posture per @joshscampbell & @juliettekayyem pic.twitter.com/6pTFtE3Tfr
— Mike Valerio (@ValerioCNN) January 22, 2023
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Bureau announced the standoff had ended after a couple of hours. “SEB SWAT operation for an armed suspect in Torrance has concluded. Neighborhood safe,” the bureau said in a tweet.
— SEB (@SEBLASD) January 22, 2023
Officials could not immediately determine if Lunar New Year, which is celebrated by billions of people from a myriad of Asian cultures around the world, was connected to the shooting. Monterey Park has a population of about 60,000, and about 65% of its residents are Asian.
“Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year,” tweeted Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) on Sunday morning. “Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence. Our hearts mourn as we learn more about the devastating acts of last night.”
President Joe Biden said he directed his homeland security adviser to prepare federal support for the investigation and he ordered flags to fly at half-staff at the White House and all public buildings in honor of the victims at Monterey Park.