SWAT team locked in standoff with 'white van linked to mass shooting'

PICTURED: Chinese Lunar New Year massacre suspect as SWAT is locked in stand off with ‘white van linked to mass shooting’ that left ten dead and ten hospitalized in dance hall bloodbath

  • Ten dead, ten injured, following a shooting in Monterey Park, California
  • Police are in standoff with vehicle related to shooting 
  • ‘Isolated incident’ occurred after a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration

Law enforcement officers investigating the Chinese Lunar New Year massacre are in a standoff with a white van believed to be involved in the mass shooting. 

Aerial footage captured a white van sandwiched between two armored black SWAT vans in a parking lot. Police had previously said they were on the lookout for a white ‘van of interest.’

A local report of the scene in Torrance says that the SWAT vehicles have ordered the driver to roll down his window and throw out his weapon. There is what appears to be a bullet hole in the window shield.

The LA Sheriff’s Department has also released pictures identifying the shooting suspect. He is pictured and described as an Asian male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds.

He should be considered ‘armed and dangerous,’ according to the department. 

The Lunar New Year massacre may have been the result of a domestic dispute between a husband and wife, a local business leader has claimed.

Head of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, Chester Chong, told a local ABC7 outlet that he believes the massacre was not a hate crime, but rather an instance of domestic unrest taken to the extreme.

He said he believes the shooting was caused because of hatred between a ‘wife and husband,’ and that it was a ‘personal case’ taken to horrific ends.

On Sunday morning, law enforcement in California said the suspect who shot up the Star Ballroom dance club has been described as an ‘Asian man,’ and that it remains unclear if the suspect is linked to another shooting two miles down the road. 

Police release photo of the suspect in the Monterey Park Chinese Lunar New Year massacre

Aerial footage of a white van that may be related to the Chinese Lunar New Year massacre

Local outlets reported police had gotten into a standoff with a white van that may belong to the shooting suspect

Multiple casualties were reported after the shooting in California during New Year celebrations

Police also said they were investigating whether a second shooting at Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra (pictured) was linked. No one was killed in Alhambra

Several residents react as they stand near a ballroom dance club in Monterey Park, California on Sunday January 22

As morning arrives, policemen continue to investigate the scene of the Monterey Park mass shooting on Saturday night

Sunday Lunar New Year celebrations around the area of the mass shooting were canceled

The update arrived as a desperate manhunt remains underway by law enforcement in the Los Angeles area after the gunman opened fire just after 10pm, about an hour after a local Lunar New Year celebration.

Horrifying pictures showed victims being stretched from the scene before being rushed to hospital as cops and ambulances swarmed the area.

Cops said throngs of terrified festivalgoers streamed out of the area ‘screaming’ as bullets continued to fly.

Monterey Park has canceled the Lunar New Year events that were scheduled to take place Sunday near and around the dance hall.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said that the 10 victims who were injured but not pronounced dead at the scene, were left in stable to critical condition.

Luna said that members of his force are searching fervently for the suspect: ‘I see it in their eyes. They want to go get this guy, and they’re going to.’

He added that it remains unclear if the massacre at the ballroom was connected with a second shooting that occurred two miles down the road in the minutes after the first shooting.

The second shooting occurred at Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra. No one was killed, the studio is, however, closed until further notice. 

Luna added that the department does not believe the suspect was using an assault style weapon, as was previously reported.

Scott Wiese, the Monterey Park Police Chief said that, while it is now safe to attend Lunar New Year celebrations in other parts of the community, the investigation that was launched today is large and ‘will go on for many days and perhaps many months.’

Wiese said law enforcement is looking for information from the community and hope members will work closely with law enforcement as the search continues.

Local restaurant owner Seung Won Choi told the LA Times three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.

Choi said he was told there was a man with a machine-gun, and believes there shooting took place at a dance club.

He added the man had multiple rounds of ammunition on him and would reload every time he ran out.

Local resident Wong Wei told the Los Angeles Times his friend was at the dance club, and was in the bathroom when shooting broke out.

When she emerged, she said she saw a gunman and three bodies – two women and one person who he said was the boss of the club.

Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna spoke with media during a Sunday morning presser

Police vehicles continue to circumnavigate the area in the aftermath of the shooting

Firefighters were spotted treating the wounded in the parking lot outside the dance studio on Saturday night

Dozens of cops and firefighters swarmed the scene but the gunman remained on the loose as of Sunday morning

The scene was largely taped off with only officers and FBI agents piecing together what happened

Interior of the Star Ballroom in Monterey Park, California where the shooting took place Saturday night 

Community members were out dancing and celebrating following a Lunar New Year celebration that had ended about an hour before the shooting

Investigators gather at a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park on Saturday night

Entrance to the Star Ballroom, where the shooting took place. Multiple investigators remain on the scene as morning arrived in Monterey Park

Daytime aerial view of the dance hall where 10 people were shot dead Saturday night

Police investigate a scene where a shooting took place as a festival concluded in California

Dozens of police officers are responding to reports of a shooting on 22 January in California

Armed officers were stationed outside an Asian store following the mass shooting on Saturday night

Captain Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff´s Department confirmed on Sunday the suspect was still at large.

He said the wounded were taken to hospitals and their conditions range from stable to critical. Meyer said the 10 people died at the scene.

Meyer said people were ‘pouring out of the location screaming’ when officers arrived on the scene.

He said police then went into the dance ballroom as firefighters treated the wounded.

The Sheriff’s Deputy told City News Service: ‘It is an isolated incident’. A motive has not been reported at this time.

However, he noted that authorities are investigating ‘every angle’ to determine whether or not the shooting was racially motivated.

Ten deaths and ten injuries makes it the joint fourth most deadly shooting in California’s history.

It also marks the fifth mass shooting in the US this month and the deadliest since 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas.

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. 

The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.

As daybreak arrived in the area surrounding the Star Ballroom, law enforcement vehicles remained abundant

Firefighters were pictured helping the injured in a parking lot near the scene of the attack on Saturday night

Two police officers stand guard near a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park

Police gather at the scene near the intersection of Garvey and Garfield Avenue in Monterey Park

The officers stand guard at the scene near the intersection of Garvey and Garfield Avenue

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain Andrew Meyer talks to reporters during a briefing in Monterey Park early Sunday morning

This image shows the inside of the nightclub where the shots were fired and at least ten people were slain

Investigators gather at a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, California

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Andrew Meyer talks to reporters during a briefing in Monterey Park following the mass shooting at a dance club Saturday night

The attack occurred at 10.22pm, roughly one hour after Chinese New Year celebrations had concluded nearby.

Tens of thousands of people had attended the two-day festival earlier in the day, which is one of the largest in Southern California.

Footage posted on social media showed deserted, cordoned-off streets guarded by police cars.

Monterey Park is a city in Los Angeles county, around 7 miles (11 km) from downtown Los Angeles, with a population of about 60,000 people.

Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia tweeted: ‘Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred.

‘Monterey Park is home to one of the largest Asian communities in Los Angeles County and many were out celebrating the Lunar New Year.’

According to demographic data, Monterey Park is home to an Asian majority population. About 65 percent of the community’s roughly 60,000 residents are Asian.

Early Sunday morning, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted that President Joe Biden has ‘been briefed by the Homeland Security Advisor’ on the shooting and ‘directed her to make sure that the FBI is providing full support to local authorities, and tp update him regularly today as more details are known.’

The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office has joined the sheriff’s department and Monterey Park Police in the investigation.

California Governor Gavin Newsom wrote Sunday morning: Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New year. 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. We are monitoring the situation closely.’

Newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass expressed her condolences in a Sunday morning statement: ‘Families deserve to celebrate the holidays in peace – mass shooting and gun violence are a plague in our communities’

She added that investigators are working to determine whether the shooting was a manifestation of ‘Asian hate,’ and said that her ‘heart goes out to Monterey Park and the families and friends of those lost.’ 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul also weighed in Sunday morning, tweeting that she is ‘heartbroken by the horrific shooting.’

‘At what should be a time of Lunar New Year celebration, the scourge of gun violence has struck yet another community – we must put an end to these senseless tragedies,’ she wrote. 

The interior of the Star Ballroom dance hall, where a gunman killed at least 10 people Saturday night

Star Ballroom owner Maria Liang, who left a successful career in business to open the dance hall in 2013

The first shooting happened on the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue, which is where the Star ballroom dance studio is based (pictured)

A second shooting, which cops were probing if it was related, happened at nearby Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra (pictured)

Armed police held a large presence, including helicopters, after the Monterey Park shooting

The Star Ballroom Dance Studio opened a decade ago and is owned by Maria Liang, a former banker for the East West Bank – a popular bank among the Chinese-American community.

While in China, she worked for Nike and Australian energy company Norton Christensen. Though, it was her passion for dance that led her to open the Star Ballroom Dance Studio a decade ago.

It has since become one of the most popular professionals ballroom studios in Southern California.

As members of the Chinese-American community in Monterey Park celebrated the incoming year of the rabbit on Saturday night, they were expecting to embrace a coming year full of relaxation, quietness and contemplation – all concepts that are emblemized by the rabbit.

The outgoing year of the Tiger was meant to be filled with positive and active thought, according to Chinese cosmological philosophy. But those celebrating the Year of the Rabbit suffered a rude awakening Saturday evening when the year broke out with a mass shooting.

Dr. Hongling Liang, a lecturer at University of Glasgow’s School of Modern Languages and Culture told the BBC, ‘The rabbit is a very gentle and clever animal. It may not be the strongest of the 12 animals, but its charm and speed attracts good qualities such as money, partnership and success.’

According to Chinese tradition the year of the rabbit is meant to be ‘calm and gentle, bringing an energy that will help those looking for more of a balanced life.’

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