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Monterey Park shooting update

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

And now we turn to Southern California, where authorities are looking for a man who has allegedly shot and killed 10 people and wounded 10 others in an overnight shooting in Monterey Park, a community just east of Los Angeles. Authorities have released few details, except that it happened at a dance studio after a Lunar New Year celebration. NPR's Nathan Rott is in Monterey Park and joins us now. Welcome, Nathan.

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Hey. Thanks, Ayesha.

RASCOE: Nathan, what more do we know?

ROTT: All right. So, yeah, we know at this point that a shooting occurred last night at about 10:20 p.m., not far from where I am right now here in Monterey Park. There are still police and news helicopters kind of hovering over me that you might be hearing. Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people just east of downtown Los Angeles in the kind of bigger urban sprawl of the county. According to the latest census report, it's about 65% Asian. Stores here have, you know, English and Chinese lettering on them. We know that some of the shooting victims were older people of Asian descent. But we're still waiting on more details on the victims, those who were wounded and those who were killed. We will probably get some more information on that later today.

RASCOE: So what do we know about the gunman?

ROTT: So not much at this point. You know, authorities really kind of vaguely described him as an Asian man. They were light on other details. There was no description of the weapon that he used except that it was a firearm and that they do not believe it was an assault-style rifle. Obviously, we don't know much about a motive at this point. Authorities are saying it's too early to rule anything out, including whether this was a targeted hate crime or anything. There's obviously a large manhunt going on right now, and we'll probably get more information as that culminates.

RASCOE: And so I understand that there's a second crime scene. What can you tell us about that?

ROTT: Yeah. So about a half hour after the shooting, around 11 p.m., in the neighboring city of Alhambra. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna says they are investigating a second potential crime scene there. A man basically described as an Asian man walked into a different dance hall in Alhambra at around 11. Luna said that he - the man walked in with a firearm and that some individuals then wrestled that firearm away from him, and the individual then took off. Obviously, we do not know at this point if the two things are related, but they certainly seem to be.

RASCOE: Can you talk about the significance of this happening, you know, on Lunar New Year?

ROTT: Yeah. I mean, so like I said, this is a huge Asian American community and there's - it's a huge celebration. Monterey Park had two days of kind of like street parties and everything planned. I know there were thousands of people that were here yesterday. Authorities have since canceled all of the events that are going on today because that suspect is still at large. But yeah, it's a big party that people, you know, generally this time of year try to enjoy. I've only talked to a few people since I've been here, but, you know, there's a lot of shock and outrage that this would happen, especially during a holiday that people love to celebrate.

RASCOE: And we don't know the motive of this, but there has been a lot of anti-Asian attacks and things of that nature. Is that putting people more on edge?

ROTT: I haven't heard that from some of the folks I've talked to yet, you know, but I suspect that that would certainly be the case, just given, you know, some of the tension that exists around the country and then some of the attacks, as you mentioned, that we've seen, you know, over the last couple of years.

RASCOE: That's NPR's Nathan Rott in Monterey Park, Calif. Thank you so much.

ROTT: Yeah, I appreciate it, Ayesha. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Nathan Rott is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where he focuses on environment issues and the American West.
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