A gunman killed ten people and wounded ten others at a ballroom dance club in California following a Lunar New Year celebration, setting off a manhunt for the suspect in the latest mass shooting to hit the US.
Captain Andrew Meyer, of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, said the wounded had been taken to hospitals and that their conditions ranged from stable to critical.
He said the ten people had died at the scene in Monterey Park, a city east of Los Angeles.
Capt Meyer said people had been “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived on the scene at around 10.30pm local time on Saturday – 6.30am on Sunday in the UK.
He said officers had gone into the ballroom as firefighters treated the wounded.
Capt Meyer gave no description of the male suspect or the weapon he used, or why police had given no information on the shooting for hours while the gunman remained on the run. He also said police were investigating another incident in the nearby city of Alhambra to see whether it was connected.
The police officer said it was too early in the investigation to know if the gunman knew anyone at the ballroom or if it was a hate crime or not. He gave no further details.
The Lunar New Year celebration had attracted thousands. Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people with a large Asian population about 10 miles (16km) from Los Angeles city centre.
The majority of its residents are Asian immigrants or their descendants, most of them Chinese.
The dance studio in Monterey Park is a few streets from the city hall on its main thoroughfare, Garvey Avenue, which is full of small businesses whose signs are in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated, and Chinese films are screened in the city.
The incident marks the fifth mass shooting in the US this month and the deadliest since 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the US. The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.
Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting happened, told the Los Angeles Times that three people had rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.
The people also told Mr Choi that there was a gunman with a weapon who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him.
The shooting occurred close to where thousands of people had attended a Lunar New Year celebration. Saturday was the start of the two-day festival, which is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California.
Videos posted on social media showed people being loaded onto stretchers and placed into ambulances. Other photos showed bloodied and bandaged victims being treated by Monterey Park firefighters in a car park.