Police are responding to a shooting Saturday night in Monterey Park that left multiple casualties, including fatalities, according to law enforcement sources.
Few details were available, including the number of people shot dead. Internal police communications said a number of people had died. A law enforcement source said the casualties totaled more than a dozen.
Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood grill across the street from the Gavi Avenue shooting, said three men stormed his restaurant and made him lock the door.
They said a man was in the area with a semi-automatic gun. They said the shooter had multiple rounds, so once he ran out of ammo, he reloaded, Choi said.
Choi said he believed the shooting took place at a dance club in the area.
The shooting happened sometime after 10 p.m. near the site of Chinese New Year celebrations. Thousands of people gathered on Saturday to kick off the two-day festival, one of the largest Lunar New Year events in the region.
Earlier in the day, crowds were enjoying kebabs and buying Chinese food and jewelry.Saturday’s New Years festive hours are scheduled from 10am to 9pm
John, 27, who declined to give his last name, lives near the scene of the shooting. He said he got home around 10 p.m. when he heard about 4 or 5 shots. Then he heard the sound of a police patrol car “smashing” in the street. At around 11:20 p.m., he went downstairs to see if the shooting happened during Chinese New Year.
“My first concern was knowing they were celebrating Chinese New Year,” he said. But he said he saw the festival had been cleaned when he arrived. He went to the scene of the shooting and saw a person being put on a stretcher. Another had a bandage on his arm.
Video on social media showed police and fire brigades flooding an area of Garvey Avenue and treating victims.
The injured were taken to various hospitals in the area.
It is not yet known whether the suspect has been taken into custody.
The violence has stunned many in and around the region.
Edwin Chen, a 47-year-old delivery dispatcher, rushed from Woodland Hills to Monterey Park around 12:30 a.m. after hearing the news. Chen grew up in the area, where more than a dozen of his family and friends live.
He said he was saddened by what happened as the community celebrated Chinese New Year.
“this is [supposed to be] A happy time,” he said. “I wanted to learn as much about the situation as possible. It’s still shocking. ”
“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in the neighboring city of Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just took place,” Los Angeles City Executive Kenneth Mejia said in a tweet. He was the first Asian-American to hold citywide office in Los Angeles.
This is breaking news. It will be updated as more information becomes available.