Officials: Injured victims in ‘various conditions’; investigation will take ‘days if not months’
The 10 victims injured in the Monterey Park shooting are in “various conditions,” ranging from stable to critical, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters Sunday.
Official said the investigation into the shooting will take “days if not months” as they continue to search for the suspect and analyze the incident.
The city of Monterey Park canceled the second day of its Lunar New Year Festival, slated for Sunday, “as a precaution and for the safety of everyone,” the city’s statement said.
Luna urged people to continue to celebrate Lunar New Year elsewhere.
Rep. Judy Chu, whose district includes Monterey Park, said she “can’t even imagine that such a thing would happen in this community.”
“I hope we can make a determination as to whether this was a hate crime,” said Chu, who also served Monterey Park as a three-time mayor, according to her website.
“Monterey Park is resilient, and what I know about the people here is that we will get through this together,” she said.
Suspect at large described as Asian male, according to ‘preliminary description’
The suspect in the Monterey Park shooting who fled the scene and remains at large has been preliminarily described as an Asian male between the ages of 30 – 50, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference Sunday morning.
“Our very preliminary description has been described as a male Asian,” Luna said. “We’ve gotten different descriptions of one suspect, so when I say it’s preliminary, please be patient with us.”
Luna said later that officials “should be putting out a better description here in next several hours.”
“We don’t know if this is specifically a hate crime defined by law, but who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people? The description we have now is of a male Asian. Does that matter? I don’t know. I can tell you everything is on the table,” Luna said.
The sheriff added that officials “are utilizing every resource to apprehend this suspect and what we believe to be one of the county’s most heinous cases.”
President Biden: ‘Jill and I are praying’ for Monterey Park victims
President Biden expressed his condolences for the victims in a statement released Sunday morning and said locals should follow official guidance.
“Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park,” Biden tweeted.
“I’m monitoring this situation closely as it develops, and urge the community to follow guidance from local officials and law enforcement in the hours ahead.”
Local leaders react: ‘We must act to end the scourge of gun violence’
As the West Coast wakes up to news of another mass shooting, California leaders and Monterey Park officials condemned the latest incident and offered their thoughts and prayers to the victims.
“During a time for celebration of Lunar New Year, gun violence has tragically struck in Monterey Park. My prayers are with the victims & their loved ones who woke up to a nightmare today,” Sen. Alex Padilla said in a tweet. “This is yet another painful reminder of why we must act to end the scourge of gun violence.”
Rep. Judy Chu, a former three time Mayor of Monterey Park and currently the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus whose district includes Monterey Park, said: “My heart is broken for the victims, their families, and the people of my hometown Monterey Park who were impacted by the mass shooting that took place during a night of Lunar New Year celebrations. I am closely following the situation.”
“Lunar New Year is a time of celebration, love and prosperity,” State Senator Susan Rubio said. “I’m shocked and saddened for our community’s loss.”
State Assemblymember Mike Fong tweeted: “Our hearts are broken on a day meant for celebration and community.”
Photos: Investigators on scene the morning after mass shooting
L.A. Mayor Karen Bass: ‘Mass shootings and gun violence are a plague’
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass called news of the Monterey Park shooting “absolutely devastating” in a statement Sunday morning.
“Families deserve to celebrate the holidays in peace- mass shootings and gun violence are a plague in our communities,” Bass said.
“As investigation determine whether these murders were motivated by Asian hate, we continue to stand united against all attempts to divide us. My heart goes out to Monterey Park and the families and friends of those lost.”
Los Angeles is eight miles west of Monterey Park.
Gun violence prevention advocates react: ‘We cannot live this way’
Gun violence prevention groups and advocates decried the Monterey Park shooting — the 33rd mass shooting so far this year, according to independent research group Gun Violence Archive — as the latest example of the scourge of gun violence in America.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun safety group, founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and fellow advocacy group Moms Demand Action, said in a tweet: “Our hearts are with the victims, survivors, their loved ones, and the entire community. What should have been a joyous celebration ended in gunfire. We do not have to live and die like this. Everyone deserves to feel safe and not fear gun violence.”
Moms Demand Action, the grassroots group founded by advocate Shannon Watts, shared a similar statement.
“It is devastating to live in a country where we have to continually wake up to this horrific news,” Kris Brown, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement. “It is even more egregious that it has become normal for people to be gunned down in the middle of a joyous holiday celebration.”
March For Our Lives, the organization founded in the wake of the Parkland school shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, tweeted: “Safe spaces DO NOT exist! Not to celebrate. Not to be in community. Not to live as who we are, free of fear. We are devastated for this loss—which appears to be hate-fueled towards our AAPI siblings & is the deadliest mass shooting since Uvalde. WE CANNOT LIVE THIS WAY”
California Gov. Newsom: ‘Our hearts mourn’
California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the Monterey Park shooting “a horrific and heartless act of gun violence” in a tweet Sunday morning.
“Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year,” Newsom wrote.
“Our hearts mourn as we learn more about the devastating acts of last night. We are monitoring the situation closely,” he added.
Newsom’s office said in a tweet that the governor had been briefed on the shooting and that state officials were working with local law enforcement.
“No one should have to fear going to a celebration with their community,” the governor’s office tweeted. “Our thoughts are with the victims and all those impacted.”
Timing of mass shooting ‘especially painful,’ local mayor says
The mayor of the nearby city of Alhambra, about two miles south of Monterey Park, tweeted that it was “especially painful” that the mass shooting occurred during Lunar New Year celebrations given the city’s large Asian American and Pacific Islander population.
“This is a time when residents should be celebrating with family, friends and loved ones — not fearing gun violence,” Mayor Sasha Renée Pérez tweeted.
Asian people make up about half of Alhambra’s estimated population of 81,200 people, according to Census Bureau data. Foreign-born people make up 47% of its population.
Monterey Park is a majority Asian, immigrant city
Monterey Park is a mostly Asian city, according to Census Bureau data.
Asian people make up 65% of the city’s approximate 59,600 residents, and foreign-born people make up over half of its population, according to the Census Bureau. Hispanic/Latino people make up about 36% of the population, and white people make up about 20%, according to the Census Bureau.
The city’s median household income is $68,497.
The mass shooting occurred at a Lunar New Year celebration, celebrated by Chinese and other Asian cultures. Authorities have said it’s too early to determine whether the mass shooting was racially motivated.
President Biden briefed on mass shooting, press secretary says
President Biden has been briefed on the Monterey Park mass shooting by Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted Sunday morning.
“He directed her to make sure that the FBI is providing full support to local authorities, and to update him regularly today as more details are known,” Jean-Pierre tweeted.
Police vehicles at the scene of the mass shooting
Monterey Park cancels Lunar New Year Festival ‘for the safety of everyone’
The second day of a Lunar New Year festival has been canceled “as a precaution and for the safety of everyone,” the city of Monterey Park said in a statement Sunday.
“The City expresses condolences to the individuals, families, and friends who were injured in this tragic incident,” the statement said.
“Even though the incident did not occur at the 2023 Lunar New Year Festival, an active investigation is currently underway and the area near and around the festival is affected,” it added. “As a precaution and for the safety of everyone, the City regrets to announce the cancellation of the second day of the festival.”