Nine people were killed in a shooting Saturday night in a predominantly Asian-populated town in Southern California, law enforcement officials said Sunday.
Specialist investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office are “assisting Monterey Park Police in the investigation of a fatal shooting,” according to a statement. “There are nine people who died.”
The alleged shooter is a man, the statement added, but no information was available on whether he was still at large.
The shooting occurred near a site where the Lunar New Year had just been celebrated in Monterey Park, a city of some 61,000 inhabitants of majority Asian origin, located about 13 km east of the center of Los Angeles. .
According to press reports, the shooting occurred in a dance hall on Saturday evening, an hour after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Monterey Park resident Wong Wei told the Los Angeles Times that his friend was in the club and was in the bathroom when the shots broke out. When she came out, she saw an armed man and three bodies — two women and a person he identified as the club boss.
The daily also quotes Seung Won Choi, the owner of a nearby restaurant, as saying that three people ran into the establishment and told him to lock the door.
– Loaded with ammunition –
These three people said that there was a man with a semi-automatic rifle and loaded with ammunition who reloaded his weapon regularly, the restaurateur told the newspaper.
The United States pays a very heavy price for the dissemination of firearms on its territory and the ease with which Americans have access to them.
The country has more individual weapons than inhabitants: one in three adults owns at least one weapon and nearly one in two adults lives in a home where there is a weapon.
The consequence of this proliferation is the very high rate of death by firearm in the United States, without comparison with that of other developed countries.
Around 49,000 people died from gunshot wounds in 2021, compared to 45,000 in 2020, which was already a record year. This represents more than 130 deaths per day, more than half of which are suicides.