California mass shooting witnesses say victims fled to neighboring stores as suspect fired indiscriminately

Witnesses of the mass shooting during a celebration of the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California late Saturday recounted how victims fled the scene to neighboring restaurants for refuge as the suspect fired indiscriminately at people.

“This is [supposed to be] a happy time,” Edwin Chen, who grew up in Monterey Park and rushed to the scene upon hearing of the shooting, told the Los Angeles Times. “I want to find out as much as possible. It’s still shocking.”

Capt. Drew Meyer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau confirmed Sunday that 10 people were killed and at least 10 other people were injured and taken to local hospitals. The shooting was carried out on West Garvey Avenue at about 10:22 p.m., according to authorities. 

The suspect, who has only been described as a male, fled the scene following the shooting and is still at large. No motive is known as of Sunday morning. 

CALIFORNIA MASS SHOOTING LEAVES AT LEAST 10 DEAD, OTHERS INJURED AT LUNAR NEW YEAR FESTIVAL; SUSPECT AT LARGE

A police vehicle is seen near a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, California, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Dozens of police officers responded to reports of a shooting that occurred after a large Lunar New Year celebration had ended in a community east of Los Angeles late Saturday. 

A police vehicle is seen near a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, California, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Dozens of police officers responded to reports of a shooting that occurred after a large Lunar New Year celebration had ended in a community east of Los Angeles late Saturday.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Monterey Park is located about 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles and has about a 65% Asian American population, the LA Times reported. It is unclear if the victims were targeted and it was too soon to say whether it was a hate crime, according to Meyer.

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“We will look at every angle,” Meyer said. 

Two police officers stand guard near a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, California, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Dozens of police officers responded to reports of a shooting that occurred after a large Lunar New Year celebration had ended in a community east of Los Angeles late Saturday. 

Two police officers stand guard near a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, California, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Dozens of police officers responded to reports of a shooting that occurred after a large Lunar New Year celebration had ended in a community east of Los Angeles late Saturday.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Witness Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood restaurant near the shooting, told the Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his restaurant during the shooting and told him to lock the door.

The people allegedly told Choi the suspect was armed with a semiautomatic gun and had multiple rounds of ammunition to reload the gun. Police have not confirmed what type of gun the suspect used during the massacre.  

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Another man told the outlet that his friend was in the ballroom club’s bathroom when gunshots rang out before 10:30 p.m. Wong Wei recounted that his friend told him she left the bathroom and saw the bodies of two women and a man, described as the boss of the club. She managed to escape the club at about 11 p.m. according to Wei.

Police investigate a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, California, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Dozens of police officers responded to reports of a shooting that occurred after a large Lunar New Year celebration had ended in a community east of Los Angeles late Saturday. 

Police investigate a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, California, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Dozens of police officers responded to reports of a shooting that occurred after a large Lunar New Year celebration had ended in a community east of Los Angeles late Saturday.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Wei said he was told the shooter was firing indiscriminately at the crowd with a long gun, according to the LA Times. 

“They don’t know why, so they run,” he said.

A police officer stands near a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Dozens of police officers responded to reports of a shooting that occurred after a large Lunar New Year celebration had ended in a community east of Los Angeles late Saturday. 

A police officer stands near a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Dozens of police officers responded to reports of a shooting that occurred after a large Lunar New Year celebration had ended in a community east of Los Angeles late Saturday.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Another local man, only identified as John, said he heard four or five gunshots after 10 p.m. and then heard police vehicles “smashing” down the street. He left his apartment at about 11:20 to see if the shooting was carried out near the Lunar New Year festival.

“My first concern was I know they’re having a Lunar New Year celebration,” he told the Times. He saw the festival was cleaned up for the day, and saw a person being loaded onto a stretcher at the scene of the shooting. He also saw a person with a bandage on their arm, according to the outlet. 

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Officials said the Lunar festival scheduled to take place at Monterey Park later Sunday was canceled “out of an abundance of caution.”

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or to call crime stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Fox News Digital’s Lawrence Richard and Stephen Sorace contributed to this report. 

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