A man fatally shot 10 people at a ballroom dance venue in Monterey Park, California, late on Saturday during the city’s Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, and was still at large after fleeing the scene, police said.
Another 10 people were taken to local hospitals to be treated for injuries, and at least one was in critical condition, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said early on Sunday morning, about five hours after the attack.
There was no information yet about a motive for the shooting nor a description of the suspect, department captain Andrew Meyer told reporters in a news briefing at the scene.
The shooting took place after 10 p.m. (0600 GMT on Sunday) around the location of a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration where many downtown streets are closed for festivities that draw thousands of people from across Southern California.
Monterey Park is a city around 7 miles (11 km) from downtown Los Angeles. About two thirds of its residents are Asian, according to U.S. Census data. The sheriff’s department said it did not know whether the attack was racially motivated.
Footage posted on social media showed injured people on stretchers being taken to ambulances by emergency staff. Around the scene of the shooting police guarded cordoned-off streets, the video showed.
“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred,” Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia wrote on Twitter.
Mass shootings are recurrent in the United States, the country with the highest rate of private gun ownership in the world. The deadliest shooting in California history was in 1984 when a gunman killed 21 people at a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, near San Diego.