(Los Angeles Magazine) The mass shooting in Monterey Park on Saturday that left at least 10 dead and as many as a dozen others wounded was likely an act of domestic violence committed by a gunman who was seeking out his wife at the venue where a Lunar New Year event was set, a law enforcement source tells LAMag.
Sheriff Robert Luna said the lone gunman burst into a Lunar New Year party in a Monterey Park ballroom on Saturday night at 10:20 p.m. and opened fire with an unknown weapon. Police have not publicly named the suspect in the incident, but a source revealed a theory about his motive.
“There is increasing evidence this was domestic violence,” the source said on Sunday.
The bespectacled man who carried out the deadliest mass killing in Los Angeles since 2008 is believed to have died by suicide on Sunday morning after a brief period spent on the run after the mass shooting at Star Dance Studio. A popular ballroom on West Garvey Avenue, Star Dance Studio had been slated to host a neighborhood block party in honor of the Lunar New Year.
After a brief chase that ended in a Torrance strip mall, SWAT teams and local police surrounded a white van that matched the description given to investigators by witnesses to the shootings. drones and helicopters circled it overhead. A bomb unit was also at the scene on Sunday morning. The gunman, described only as an Asian male between 30 and 50 years old, is believed to have ended a nearly 12-hour manhunt by committing suicide.
The mass shooting has upended a quiet suburban enclave located several miles east of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley that is home to a sprawling Chinese-American community.
Luna told reporters that the victims included five women and five men. Initially, investigators said that they believed the killings could be a hate crime.
But Chester Chong, the chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles and a community leader in Monterey Park, also claimed that the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute between a husband and wife.
“This hate is because of wife and husband,” Chong told ABC7 News, adding that the suspect may have been jealous because he was not invited to the celebration that his spouse attended. “I believe because of that there was the killing of innocent people.”
Investigators confirmed a second incident at the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra was related to the incident at Monterey Park. In that second apparent attack, the LASD told reporters a man entered the Alhambra dance hall with a weapon, which was wrestled away by someone inside the venue, about 20 minutes after the Monterey Park killings.
“The picture or the image we’re showing is from the second location,” Luna said, “and we believe they are both connected.”
The Mayor of Alhambra said she was devastated by the violence that marred the biggest holiday of the year and applauded the citizens who wrestled the gun away from the shooter.
“San Gabriel Valley residents are deeply invested in keeping one another safe. It doesn’t shock me at all that our community would see a shooter approaching and intervene. I’m grateful to those who risked their lives in an attempt to apprehend the gunman and remove his gun,” she wrote in a Twitter statement.
Lunar New Year festival, also known as the Chinese New Year, is one of the largest holiday events in the area, is a two-day celebration. Jan. 22 marked the start of the Year of the Rabbit. Celebrations slated for today, the first since the COVID-19 shutdowns, were canceled in several communities, including Monterey Park.
Claudia Kim came to West Garvey street with her three children, Michael, 8, and four-year-old twins Skylee & Tessa hoping to celebrate. Instead, the family with the little girls in matching traditional Chinese dresses, prayed for the victims and their community.
In the aftermath of the shooting, President Biden and Vice President Harris have both sent condolences to the victims’ families while promising to send Federal support to assist local law enforcement in the search for the killer.