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At Least Ten Dead, Ten Injured in Mass Shooting Near Los Angeles; Memorial for Lisa Marie Presley Underway at Graceland; Biden Briefed on California Mass Shooting That Killed AT Least Ten People. Sheriff: Suspect Remains At Large, Described As An Asian Male. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired January 22, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
And we begin this morning with breaking news of a mass shooting in California, ahere, at any moment now, officials will give us an update on any new developments.
Meantime, I do want to bring in our correspondent who is there and bring you up to speed on what we know thus far. At least ten people are dead, another ten hospitalized after the shooting Saturday night in Monterey Park. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says the male suspect in the attack fled the scene and remains at large.
California Governor Gavin Newsom sharing his condolences in a tweet that says, in part, Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year. Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence.
The deadly shooting happened inside a dance studio, seen in these images right here, shortly after 10:00 P.M. local time during a Lunar New Year holiday celebration. The city of Monterey Park is about seven miles outside of Los Angeles and is a predominantly Asian community. The mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass, saying the news is absolutely devastating, adding families deserve to celebrate the holidays in peace. Mass shootings and gun violence are a plague on our communities , that from the new mayor of Los Angeles.
CNN's Natasha Chen joining me now live now from Monterey Park, where officials will hold a briefing momentarily. What more can you tell us, Natasha?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. We're at Monterey Park City Hall, and I see some officials actually behind doors, looking like they are preparing to walk out. So, as soon as they do, I am going to step aside so we can listen to them.
But from what we know, as you said, ten people have died, they were pronounced dead on scene. This happened shortly after 10:00 P.M. local time at a business that is actually just a few blocks away from where we are standing here at city hall. Police say that they arrived to find people pouring out of the business. They found victims inside, gunshot victims. So, in addition to the ten people who were pronounced dead, there were at least ten more people who were brought to local hospitals.
Now, there were some people in the community who came to the scene who came to take a look at what was going on. One of them spoke to reporters on site and really commented about how he had lived here in Monterey Park for 15 years and has never witnessed this kind of violence in this community, a very shocking and troubling to people here. He also said that America's gun issue is out of control and that he said it's best not to go to public places too often. That's his reaction, just a member of the community, during what is supposed to be the happiest time of year for this community, the Lunar New Year holiday.
Now, as you mentioned, this was a gathering during this Lunar New Year weekend. This is likely a private gathering, separate from the city of Monterey Park's Lunar New Year Festival, which was also planned to be along those streets where this business was located. On the city's website, it says that this festival typically brings out 100,000 people per day during this holiday. So, that has been canceled because of the shooting. Those streets clearly blocked off initially in preparation for a festival, and now because of this tragedy, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Is it the hope, Natasha, that officials might reveal more about the sequence of events, because there have been conflicting reports about the shooting, whether it took place indeed inside the studio, outside in the parking lot, you know, and which happened first, if those two locations were the case?
CHEN: Yes, Fred, we're definitely going to be asking a lot of questions along those lines. We're going to be asking about their search for the suspect as well, possible motive here, anything they can tell us about the victims, how people in the hospital are doing.
We're really hoping a chance to speak with Sheriff Luna here, the Los Angeles County Sheriff. He is going to be joined by quite a number of people from different law enforcement agencies, as well local and federal. So, this is definitely still in the very early stages of investigation and there are a lot of people here with a lot of questions. We're definitely hoping to find out, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Right. Natasha Chen, we'll check back with you.
Thank you so much there at city hall at Monterey Park, California. And, of course, when the press conference begins, we will take you there.
All right, right now, a public memorial is taking place for Lisa Marie Presley at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PASTOR DWAYNE HUNT, ABUNDANT GRACE FELLOWSHIP: We are grateful for the beautiful gift that was Lisa Marie, her passion, her strength, her brilliance and her tenaciousness.
SARAH FERGUSON, THE DUCHESS OF YORK: We stand here with great honor, because we called each other sissy. And I've been with you all for all of -- all your lives, really, and I stand here with great honor. And for the entire family, we march forward in support of you. All of us are with you. And we will help you as best we can. If you just put out your hand, we will be there.
JERRY SCHILLING, TALENT MANAGER: I always call Lisa Memphis. She had that attitude. And she always called me Jerry Schilling, always in that cadence.
Memphis, I will always love you.
WHITFIELD: People lined up outside for hours before the ceremony began. Presley died January 12th at the age of 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest. Her cause of death has not been determined.
Let's bring in now CNN's Nadia Romero live for us there in Memphis. Nadia, people are remembering her, they came out in huge numbers and it wasn't that long that a number of people came to Graceland to mark what would be the 88th birthday of Elvis Presley, and Lisa Marie was there. That happened just before her sudden passing away.
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so much happening in just the past couple of weeks, Fredricka. That's why you see people with tears in their eyes and some people very emotional at the public memorial, because this happened so suddenly, hearing about her cardiac arrest, knowing that she died and still having some question marks about what caused her death.
But people who say they knew her best would say that she wanted us to celebrate her life, that she said, don't make it sad. They started that off at the beginning of the ceremony. She didn't want a sad memorial. She wanted people to celebrate.
This is the pamphlet that people are getting as they come in, this beautiful portrait of her on the front and on the inside a little bit of facts about her and then the order of events today. People are holding on to this forever. One woman told me this is history. That's why she wanted to here.
Take a look over here. This is the gates that will lead you into the famed Graceland estate. And you can see people who were part of the public memorial walking out now. I want to tell you that it is cold, and so not everyone was prepared for the weather today. So, people have come in. They've been waiting for five, six hours for their cars just to stand in line.
The first stop for many people, though, was to come and put flowers like this up for Lisa Marie Presley. People have added their names here. And you can see signs, flowers here. Folks came. This family is from California and Texas, just to make sure they were able to get here.
We spoke with people who said they came in from Cleveland, Ohio. They booked a last-minute flight. They had two connections just to get here. Another woman said that she called her cousin and said we have to be here, because so many people remember when Elvis died. One woman told me it was the first and only time she ever saw her father cry back in 1977 when Elvis died. And ever since then, she had been a die- hard Presley fan.
I want you to listen to two women as they talk about why they wanted to make sure they came here today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERRI CHILDS, FAN FROM CLEVELAND: Of course, it was instant tears and it was horrible. I've always been a huge Elvis and Lisa Marie fan my whole life, and my father was, as well.
BRANDI HALL, FAN FROM TAMPA, FLORIDA: Presley name, you think of -- the closest I can say is god, like literally. He's -- when you think of Elvis Presley, he was so giving. Who else -- I mean, he's up there.
This is a part of history, history in the making. We didn't get to come for Elvis. So, this is our way of -- we didn't get to make it for Elvis, so we're making it for his daughter, unfortunately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMERO: And I asked people what is it about the Presley name.
They said they're the closest thing we have to being American royalty. You have got the Kennedys, the Jackson, the Osmonds and the Presleys. And that's why they wanted to come out.
And because of the recent Elvis movie, we're seeing even more generations really latch onto Elvis and realized the impact that he made by then and still making, so many of our commercials and everything that we're hearing is coming from Elvis. They also wanted to celebrate Lisa Marie, saying that she was a star and she was icon in her own right.
So, the public memorial happening right now. After that, everyone will be asked to leave the grounds here at Graceland and then they will go to the meditation garden. It's where Lisa Marie Presley will be laid to rest in a private ceremony right next to her father, Elvis, and right next to her son, who tragically died. And that's how the day will wrap up. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right. Nadia Romero outside of Graceland there in Memphis, we'll check back with you. Thank you so much.
And we'll also continue to follow this breaking news. Right now, a manhunt is underway for a suspect who shot and killed ten people and injured at least ten more in Monterey Park, California. Police will give an update on the situation. You see the microphone is poised and ready to go. And, of course, when that happens, we will take you there live.
WHITFIELD: All right, back now to our top story. President Biden has been briefed on that mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, that has left ten people dead, ten injured. And the gunman is still on the loose.
CNN's Jasmine Wright joins us now. Jasmine, the president is in Rehoboth Beach being briefed still. What now?
JASMINES WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Fred. The White House announced this morning that the president was briefed while he spends a weekend in Rehoboth, Delaware. And I want to read you the tweet from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. She said that Biden had been briefed by homeland security adviser on the mass shooting in Monterey Park. He directed her to make sure that the FBI is providing full support to local authorities and update him regularly today as more details are known.
Now, I have to say that the vice president was also briefed on the shooting in Monterey Park. And we actually heard from her and some audio-only remarks just a few moments ago where she mourned the victims of her home state of California, and also herself pledged that she and Biden will be pledging that federal support.
Now, I have to point out to you, Fred, that this, of course, is not the first, second or third time that the president will be responding to a major mass shooting while in office. We've seen him take this issue very seriously while he's been in office the last two weeks, often going to the site of the mass shootings to talk to the victims, talk to the local officials there, while also continuously calling for stricter gun laws, especially when it comes to banning assault-style weapons. That's something that the president has talked about quite frequently these past two years.
Of course, the ability for that to happen, despite the fact that he was able to shepherd through a small limited bipartisan gun bill earlier last year, you know, that is also really on the table there. But, of course, the president has talked about that a lot. So, while we don't know all of the details and we are waiting to hear more in that press conference that's suppose to start any moment now, of course, we're also waiting to hear from the president who, again, has been really vocal about the need for stricter gun control in this country. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right. Jasmine Wright, we'll check back with you in Washington. Thank you so much.
Let's talk further now about the kind of law enforcement strategy here on what took place in Monterey Park. I want to bring in Ed Davis, he is the former police commissioner for Boston, also joining us is CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem, she's also a former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and former CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst and former FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe also with us. Good to see you all of you.
Commissioner, I wonder, we're just a few minutes away from this briefing, but I wonder if you could give us an idea how officials might be prioritizing information. What will they choose? What kind of information do they feel is important to convey to the public?
ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Good morning, Fredricka. There is a lot going on right now. When they first arrived at the scene, police will have a number of working theories that they will attempt to run down in the hours immediately after the incident occurred. And there's a lot of information coming out recently about incidents that occurred nearby, the fact that the Lunar New Year event may have been over at the time that the shootings took place. And the fact that the suspect was armed with a long rifle, that mitigates towards someone who planned this event.
However, it is going to be really critical to get information about what the suspect looks like, his description, and how he has fled the scene. Did he have associates? Did he have someone assisting him that picked him up and drove him away? Did he run away from the scene? Did he drive away? Video in that area is going to be really crucial.
So, I think that we'll hear a bunch of information that will tend to clarify exactly what the motive was behind this incident at the press conference.
WHITFIELD: And, Juliette, it has not been declared what the motivation may be, but we are talking about this shooting taking place during celebrations of this New Lunar Year, and in a predominantly Asian community. And given, you know, the pattern of events that have taken place in this country, targeting Asian-Americans, talk to me about how -- just as the commissioner said, how officials will be looking at all potential angles of motivation, and how especially to address a sense of fear in the community, how they will delicately try to also explore whether this is hate motivated or if it's random or something else?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right, right. And my heart goes out to the victims and their families, and to the Asian- American community, which has been obviously -- the focus of increasing hate crimes is monitored by the FBI in the last couple of years.
So, law enforcement and homeland security experts do not have to be immune to context. When something like this happens, you look at the community, the date, the place, the victims, the time, what's been happening in atmospherics, and hate will be one of the likely motivations rather than, say, randomness. You don't put randomness that it could be a random perpetrator aside, but you obviously can take into account in terms of what your investigation is looking for. So, as Ed, the commissioner was saying earlier, have people been speaking about going after the Asian- American community, about the Lunar New Year? Are there things online that can give us hints about who it might be?
That larger context is important also because whether hate was the motivation for the perpetrator, it is definitely going to be perceived by the community here in the United States and the international community that looks at these kinds of cases, it is going to be viewed as a hate crime.
So, every city is having events today for the Lunar New Year. Every mayor and police department will have to position themselves to protect that community, because we don't know what's going on, and the community needs to be addressed. They'd live life fully in fear unless told otherwise. And I think we have to take that into account for what that community is facing today.
WHITFIELD: And, Andrew, at what point will local authorities also be joined by federal law enforcement authorities, if not already?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think we're probably -- yes, I think we're probably well passed that point, Fredricka. There's already been some reporting that FBI is on the scene and we're hearing of other federal agencies assisting with specific aspects of the investigation. I mean, we have the L.A. County sheriffs. This is a large, sophisticated, highly capable law enforcement agency but there are still very specific technical tools and assistance that the federal authorities can bring in, things like cell phone site analysis and, you know, really complicated ballistic analysis. So, I'm sure they're on site assisting with the investigation already.
I think it's also really important that we stay focused on the fact that, right now, law enforcement is looking for a man before they start thinking about a motive. They are really at like ground zero of this investigation, without even a -- you know, a specific description of who they're looking for. So, they are likely conducting hundreds of interviews of people who were on scene that night coursing through video surveillance capture from every camera in the area and really trying to find someone leaving that scene in a hurry might lead them to the shooter.
WHITFIELD: And Juliette, just adding a little bit more what you had mentioned earlier. You actually wrote on Twitter today that Asian communities will certainly view this as a hate crime until proven otherwise. So, talk to me about what kind of cooperation in that community is going to be needed in -- to assist police as they investigate. People are going to be led a lot by fear. But at the same time, they may have some very important information to add to the investigation.
KAYYEM: Right. And some communities, relationship with law enforcement may not be great. And so the law enforcement is going to have to reach out to the community that may have information. That is not just eyewitnesses. I completely agree with Andrew that they have to find the person, and that is going to take the community who has seen someone, maybe seen someone that they didn't know was the shooter but might have seen them before. They're going to have the cameras and the phones and everything else.
This is a population in an area that is predominantly Asian-American as well. So, the entire community is sort of invested in this in the search. Outside of this particular incident, as you were saying, the Asian-American community is going to view this, and you already see online, as threatening their safety today. A lot of folks are planning on going out today to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It is a family- focused, fun festival for many of these people, and they are questioning their safety right now.
And so that is very key.
So, we still don't know the motivation, we cannot be immune how this is being perceived by the community, that was not only the target but could also be very helpful in terms of finding the person.
WHITFIELD: Commissioner Davis, this is the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Lots of events are planned. What should be the approach? Do you see cancelations of these events, as they look for, as Andrew put it, the man before the motive or not, or does that only make people elevate anxiety?
DAVIS: I think it does elevate anxiety, and I don't think there should be widespread cancelation of events like this. Just after 9/11 during the marathon investigation, we encourage people to not let an incident like this affect their daily lives. They should be cognizant of what happened. They should be paying attention, see something, say something. But unless you're right in that neighborhood or somewhere adjacent to the L.A. area, I think it's fine to go out. I was with some friends in the Asian community last night and they were all excited about going out today. So, that will be important.
But the community is affected, no matter what the ultimate motive is here. And the mayor and the police chief need to reach out to community members and the Asian community in Monterey Park to reassure them and to talk to them. That's critical. That's a critical component to this investigation.
WHITFIELD: All right. Everyone stay with us. We are going to continue to monitor the events taking outside the city hall there at Monterey Park, California. Momentarily, they will have a press conference there involving law enforcement. We'll take it live. We're going to take a short break for now and we'll see you on the other side.
[11:31:12] WHITFIELD: Our live pictures right now. We're waiting for a police update out of Monterey Park, California. This after a deadly shooting at a dance studio last night. Ten people killed, 10 others injured. And, of course, when the press conference gets underway, we'll take you there live.
I want to bring back my law enforcement guests right now as we also train our eyes on that podium there. And I think, Andrew McCabe, I'd like to ask you about the tools likely at hand while the manhunt is underway. We have learned from authorities that they're looking for one suspect and they have identified at least the person as a male, describe the person as a male.
This is a highly populated area, a predominantly Asian community. We understand it is densely populated there and that there are cameras everywhere, whether they'd be on the streetlights and buildings. Talk to us about the tools that law enforcement is using to try to pinpoint who this suspect might be, the direction that they may have gone after opening fire.
MCCABE: Sure. So let's begin just by mentioning the ballistics. So in all likelihood, we've heard different reports of it potentially being a rifle or semi-automatic weapon. None of that's confirmed yet. But if the weapon expelled spent brass casings, as many weapons do, those will be collected and analyzed for fingerprints and DNA and everything else.
In terms of the image capture, there are many, many -- as you mentioned, Fred, there are many video cameras capturing everything from crowd shots to traffic in surrounding areas to entries and exits --
WHITFIELD: All right, Andy McCabe, I'm going to stop you there and let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- Information Bureau. The order of speakers today will be Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese, Monterey Park Mayor Henry Lo, representing the First District Supervisor Hilda Solis, Congressmember Judy Chu, and FBI Assistant Director Don Alway.
At the end, we will be available for questions. Thank you.
SHERIFF ROBERT G. LUNA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: OK, first of all, thank you for your patience. I know it took us a little bit to get out here but we're doing a lot of very important work behind. It gives me a great sadness to be standing before you to report such devastating news. Never easy to do something like this because it's absolutely heartbreaking.
And our thoughts, condolences and prayers go out not only to the victims, their family, but this Monterey Park community and really the entire community because I think we're all going to be hurting based on this tragedy. On Saturday, January 21, 2023, at approximately 10:22 p.m., officers from the Monterey Park Police Department responded to a business in the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue in the city of Monterey Park regarding a shots fired call.
When officers arrived at the location, they observed numerous victims and patrons in the business parking lot. Additional officers made entry into the business and located numerous gunshot victims. Monterey Park Fire Department responded to the scene and started to treat the injured.
And I do want to point out these police officers that get there, they don't hesitate, they go in right away. And then our partners at the fire department and not only the Monterey Park Fire Department, but many others who came to assist for the victims, survivors who needed assistance.
There were at least 10 additional victims transported to numerous local hospitals. But I do want to start off with saying that, unfortunately, when the fire department did get into the business, they did pronounce 10 of the victims deceased at the scene that I just described. But the 10 additional victims were transported to numerous local hospitals. They are listed in various conditions from stable to critical condition.
There is a male suspect that fled the scene and remains outstanding as of this moment. Our very preliminary description has been described as a male Asian. And that's from the scene here in Monterey Park. And it's taken us a while and please be patient with us because as we're interviewing victims and witnesses, we've gotten different descriptions of one suspect.
So when I say as preliminary, please again, be patient with us. We are here to tell you that we are utilizing every resource to apprehend this suspect in what we believe to be one of the county's most heinous cases. Our local state and federal law enforcement agencies are working together to better serve the residents here of Los Angeles County and to apprehend this attacker.
Sheriff's Homicide investigators are working diligently with the Monterey Park Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, and numerous other law enforcement agencies. Bottom line is here, we're going to use every resource available to us because we need to get this person off the street as soon as possible.
But again, we are still in the very early stages of this investigation. And there's probably -- there actually is a lot more that we don't know than what we know at this time. As I said earlier, the men and women of the sheriff's department join me in extending our condolences to the countless families affected by the senseless shooting. And they will remain constantly on the minds of our investigators who I see it in their eyes, they want to get this guy and they're going to.
So I also want you to know, questions that are being asked, is this related to the other event here in the city of Monterey Park or any concerns about any other Chinese New Year events? We are working here. You see all the partners behind me, including the FBI. We've been doing threat assessments throughout the morning.
Are they connected? Honestly, we don't know the answer to that yet. It may or may not be. So as we look at other events, we will make sure that we step up our presence from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. We will be in communication with other law enforcement agencies. We already have been to make sure that security is a top priority at any event.
And that's not to indicate that we think there's a threat there. We're just taking every precaution that we can. We don't want anybody else to get hurt. As a matter of fact, I'll be attending another Chinese New Year's event later on in a couple of hours. And I encourage people to go out and enjoy the events. It's a time from that perspective to celebrate, although this is a very sad occasion.
So I now want to introduce to you my partner, the chief of police of the Monterey Park Police Department, Chief Scott Wiese. Thank you. And by the way, we'll be available for questions after everybody is done speaking. Thank you.
CHIEF SCOTT WIESE, MONTEREY PARK POLICE: Thanks buddy. Appreciate it.
LUNA: Thank you.
WIESE: Good morning, everybody. My name is Scott Weise. I'm the police chief for the city of Monterey Park. As the sheriff explained to you, my officers responded last night to this call. We've been working with our county, state and federal partners to help in this investigation. It's a large investigation that will go on for many days and perhaps many months.
My concern now is the safety of the city of Monterey Park. My officers are on duty. I brought in extra officers from home to make sure that the community is safe. We will continue to patrol this community and respond to anything that happens here. We are going to remain very diligent and we hope the community becomes closer partners with us in this and is able to share any information they have with the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau in the city of Monterey Park.
As the days go on, we will continue to be very diligent about protecting the city. Our Lunar New Year event that was going to occur close to where our crime occurred has been canceled today for obvious reasons. And all of us at the department, all of my officers responded, all of my professional staff are very serious about catching this suspect, and bringing him to justice. And that's our number one goal here. Thank you.
MAYOR HENRY LO, MONTEREY PARK, CA: Thank you. Thank you, Chief Wiese. And I want to first thank Sheriff Luna, the FBI, the State Emergency Services, and all of the law enforcement agencies, who have been working with us for past few hours investigating this very tragic event. It's difficult believe that it happened here in Monterey Park.
We want to express our condolences to the victims and their families. And moving forward, you know, it is important that we be there for them to provide services and support they need and what will be a time of healing in next weeks, months, if not, years. We also want to just thank everyone who has given their support for Monterey Park.
Again, we are a small community in San Gabriel Valley, but we're part of the larger Southern California region family. And we've been -- it's been very comforting to see the support -- the upward support that's been here for our community and our families. And, again, thank you so much to our own police department who every day protects this community.
And this is a diverse community, a very diverse community. And yesterday, we kicked off our Lunar celebration and our police department very much aware of its diversity also has within its ranks those who are multilingual as well multicultural. And I want to rest assure, I want the community to be rest assured that our police department will continue every day to protect the safety of everyone who lives in Monterey Park. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please identify yourself.
LO: I'm sorry. My name is Henry Lo. I am the mayor for the city of Monterey Park. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
LO: I'm sorry, H-E-N-R-Y, last name spelled L-O.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.
LO: Thank you.
HILDA SOLIS, LA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Good morning. Supervisor Hilda Solis representing the First District. First of all, I'm devastated. My heart is broken to hear that just after a very beautiful event that many of us here attended yesterday to hear about the loss of 10 lives, mass shooting that occurred here in Monterey Park, our very own community, as well as those 10 individuals that are injured.
First of all, I want to commend the police department here in Monterey Park, the city of Monterey Park for being so diligent, as well as our sheriff, our new Sheriff Luna, who's done already an outstanding job. But I also want to thank the community itself, because we continue to be resilient.
This is unfortunate happening here on the day that we celebrate. It's a holiday that is so well respected and celebrated by so many in the AAPI community. And just yesterday to see hundreds of thousands of people on the street on Garvey, to know that people could come out after the pandemic, to celebrate, to see family, to see children to see our elderly, to know that this was a place of welcoming.
People would come here for many, many years knowing that this was a place of acceptance, of diversity of immigrants. And it's unfortunate what occurred. We're praying for those that lost their lives and their families and for those that are currently in our care, and that are injured. I know that at least four of those individuals are at our LAC-USC Medical Trauma Hospital.
And I want to thank the medical staff that has been there up all night providing the services and helping those to heal. We have much more prayers to provide for our community. As you know, hate crime is nothing new for some in our community, especially the AAPI community and that's why almost three years ago, the County Board of Supervisors took action right on the cusp of COVID when we saw assaults against people of Asian descent.
So we know this is a problem and we have to confront it. But I hope today that we remain united and that when we see something, we say something.
And as the sheriff said, we know that this is a day of a solemn moment. But we also know that the Lunar New Year means so much to our AAPI communities. And this is a time of reflection and prayer. So, I know I will do whatever I can in my capacity working with all of our partners here to see how we can heal, but also come up with some plans and see how we can better serve our community so that we can stop this hate, this hate that somehow has taken a hold over our communities.
So I pray for those families. And I know that this community is resilient. It has been, it's gone through a lot already. But they remain fierce. And they are our community. They are our familia. Thank you.
With that, Congresswoman Judy Chu?
REP. JUDY CHU (D), CALIFORNIA: Hello, I'm Congressmember Judy Chu, and I represent this district, the 28th Congressional District. My thoughts and condolences go to the victims of this horrific crime. I can only imagine the terror, pain and anxiety that they feel and how devastated the families of those who were killed must feel right now.
And I can't even imagine that such a thing what happened in this community. My thanks go to the first responders who came so quickly, the paramedics and fire department who were able to take care of the injured, the sheriffs, Sheriff Luna, as well as Monterey Park Police Chief Wiese. And I appreciate the FBI coming immediately. President Biden has been apprised of this horrific shooting. And I hope that we can make a determination as to whether this was a hate crime.
You know, this could have been so much worse. Only hours earlier, all of us were together only one block away at the Lunar New Year festival. All of us standing right here, were there. And there were thousands there. It is horrible that such a thing could occur at a time of celebration for so many in the AAPI community and in the Asian community worldwide.
This is a time to be with family to celebrate, and yet this tore a hole through all of our hearts. But let me say, I've lived in this city for 37 years. I was on the city council and I was its mayor. And I know how strong Monterey Park is. Monterey Park is resilient. And what I know about the people here is that we will get through this together.
DON ALWAYS, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES FIELD OFFICE: Good morning. I'm Don Always, the way the Assistant Director of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. And on behalf of the entire FBI, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Those that are not going to have their loved ones come home to greet them.
The FBI is committed to providing all the resources at our disposal to assist the Sheriff's Department and the Monterey Park Police Department. And we won't stop until everything, every lead is exhausted and justice prevails. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have (INAUDIBLE). A couple things. So your only description is that as an Asian man, correct?
LUNA: That's correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And then I just need to clarify something because Supervisor Solis just imply that this, you know, this hate crimes have to stop. So this is not a hate crime?
LUNA: Everything's on the table. We don't know if this is specifically a hate crime defined by law. But who walks into a dance hall and guns down 20 people. The description we have now is of a male Asian. Does that matter? I don't know. I can tell you that everything's on the table.
Our detectives are looking at every possibility with our partners. Age range, somewhere between the age of 30 and 50. There is a wide range and those are things that our detectives as we're sitting here now for the last several hours. And they -- we have several homicide teams working here.
It's amazing when you can pick up the phone and I have other agencies coming, what can we do to help? We want this guy off the street. So we're working very hard. And we're hoping. Actually, we will should be putting out a better description here in the next several hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the scene?
LUNA: The actual scene? I have not. I've been at the crime scene but not the actual shooting scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The questions I have is then, based on the scene, I don't know if you or Captain Meyer could answer this, based on the location of the bodies, is it looked like there was an intentional direction that the shooter was aimed at, or does it look like it was random across the border?
LUNA: Those are questions that we will be able to answer just not at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, can you talk about the suspect's weapons? Yes, that ammunition and weapons used, potentially any description of that? And can you please also describe what other incidents you are trying to investigate as far if there are possible connection to this including (INAUDIBLE)?
LUNA: Yes. So let me start off with the last question regarding the city of Alhambra. We are working diligently with the Alhambra Police Department. We believe that there's an incident that may be related. We're not quite there yet. But it's definitely on our radar screen, where a male Asian suspect walked into a dance hall. And he walked in there with a firearm.
And some individuals wrestled the firearm away from them. And the -- that individual took off. Now, some witnesses in that area are describing a white cargo can. We don't know though, at this time, if it is connected. That white man should be considered a man of interest at this point.
Again, detectives looking at multiple locations, multiple clues. And I know how hard they're working. In regards to the firearm, obviously, there were multiple rounds fired at the first location where we have all the victims and survivors. We don't know how many rounds were fired.
Different weapons have been described. In regards to this specific weapon, we don't believe it was an assault rifle at this time. But again, that's part of the investigation that we're looking at, just to make sure, and I don't want to put out bad information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, without giving us things that you cannot tell us, do you have things solid leads right now where are possibly connecting you to this gunman right now? I know you cannot give us details of him, but do you have some solid leads which give you hope that you're going to find this person pretty quickly?
LUNA: I always have hope. And we have amazing detectives out here. The resources that they have are utilizing out here. There are multiple leads that we are following. But please keep in mind, our priority here is obviously we get to the victims, we get to the survivors. We're going to wrap our arms around the families.
But the next top priority is to arrest the person who did this, charge them and get them prosecuted to the full extent of the law, no matter what the intent, motive or anything was. So --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) that the suspect knew anyone inside that dance hall?
LUNA: That's always a possibility. Again, very early on in this investigation. That's a possibility. When you're a good detective, you don't take anything off the table. Everything's a possibility. And that could be one of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has anyone said that in either of these two places we think we know that person?
LUNA: We are still in the process of interviewing dozens of witnesses. And I'm not going to get into detail yet about what they said. Look at how many cameras are in front of me. Suspect could be watching right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, the Alhambra incident, is there a weapon if he was disarmed? Do you have a weapon from that incident?
LUNA: We do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us what it is?
LUNA: Not at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that that could be your weapon from the crime here?
LUNA: It absolutely could be. We don't know yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you please describe the victims as far as their age range, gender, race, anything you can tell us?
LUNA: In regards to the 10 deceased victims, my understanding, we have five females and five males. In regards to their specific ages, we have not been able to identify any of them yet. We will do that with our partners at the coroner's office when the time comes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
LUNA: I want to say it happen within 20 to 30 minutes of the first incident that we're here discussing it. It happened after the Monterey Park incident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know how many people were inside to the dance hall (INAUDIBLE)?
LUNA: I don't have that information, but there were dozens of people in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a possible shelter in place will -- why don't shelter in place (INAUDIBLE) for the community?
LUNA: We don't believe that's necessary at this time, but we will consistently evaluate that. And if we believe that there's an absolute danger to the public, we're going to take every precaution necessary. We have a lot of resources out all over the place. And I don't think we're there yet. But it's always an option in the toolbox.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were all the victims, as far as you know, of Asian descent, people who were killed or people who were wounded?
LUNA: We don't have that specific information yet, because we have not identified them yet. But the assumption is that probably, yes, but --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any (INAUDIBLE) among the dead or injured?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know anything about the event? Was it advertised? Was it like -- was there music, (INAUDIBLE), like do you know anything about (INAUDIBLE)?
LUNA: I don't have that specific information, but we'll put that out later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, (INAUDIBLE) your teams have scouring video right now, getting him running away?
LUNA: Our teams are doing a lot of things right now. That's one of many.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheriff, can you talk about the timeframe here? When the call came in, how long it took for officers to get through the scene, when they went in and understand that this guy have to, you know, exit?
LUNA: Chief Wiese, if you want to talk about the initial response to the scene. Thank you.
WIESE: So we received 911 calls starting at 10:22 in the evening. The incident, as you all know, is very close to the police station. We were just wrapping up the final shutdown of the Lunar New Year event. I had dozens of officers here throughout the day and the evening at the Lunar New Year event.
So our response to the scene was within minutes. I don't have the exact time. The initial officers that responded saw dozens of people exiting, some were injured, some weren't. And we handled them as they came out, began to triage that, and my officers put together a react team and went inside to see if the suspect was still inside.
They were probably entering that business within a minute or two of responding. And that's how we've been trained. And that's how we respond to situations like this. And I want to address the shelter in place. We have a very tight community here. They share information with us. And our partnership with our community is very, very strong.
We've put out information to them about their safety, and we welcome their questions to us. I have dozens of officers here on the street today, not just from my agency -- from agencies all over both local, county, state and federal. This is a safe community right now. But we're going to continue to be vigilant until we take the suspect into custody wherever they are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chief, can you speak to the possibility of this being a result of a domestic dispute between a husband and wife?
LUNA: That's all part of the investigation. Everything's on the table. And, you know, the more people you talk to, the more information we get and our detectives of those are amazing. And we'll get there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the timeframe. We -- the Monterey Park is (INAUDIBLE) Alhambra. Yes, what time was the incident in Alhambra to get a better idea. This was 10:22 in Monterey Park that lasted a little while, you said like 20 minutes to get through Alhambra. What time is that?
LUNA: So if we're looking at the Alhambra incident, approximately 10:22. And from the information preliminarily that we have now, we're talking about between 17 minutes to 20 minutes later the Alhambra incident occurs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION).
LUNA: Yes, sir. Monterey Park unfortunately occurred first.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you speak also the caliber of a weapon that you recovered?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) may have involved in some way?
LUNA: Apart from the Alhambra and Monterey Park incident?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Monterey Park and that there was also a restaurant there (INAUDIBLE). Can you clarify the name of that business that have happened (INAUDIBLE).
LUNA: Yes, I don't have information about that at this time. Maybe that's just some new detail that's coming up whether that's out there. We'll clarify that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION).
LUNA: I don't --
WIESE: The business is --
LUNA: Well --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he's going to something.
LUNA: Yes. Can we pause on that, on the name of the business?