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Source: SWAT Standoff Underway Believed Related To Mass Shooting; Officials Provide Update On California Mass Shooting. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 22, 2023 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington and we are following breaking news this hour as a police standoff situation unfolds in Torrance, California.
This is believed to be connected to the mass shooting in Monterey, California that killed 10 people and left another 10 people injured. Police have just released a photo of the suspect who they described as an Asian male calling him armed and dangerous.
Witnesses say people in a dance studio were celebrating the Lunar New Year when shots rang out. The motive for this attack remains unclear and CNN's Natasha Chen joins me now from Monterey Park, California.
Natasha, what more are we learning about this standoff?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, a law enforcement source tells our colleague, Josh Campbell that it is related to the investigation into this shooting that happened here in Monterey Park just a couple of blocks away from where we are, behind us is an FBI mobile unit, lots of law enforcement State, local, Federal, and so we are waiting to hear more details about the possible connection hereto that standoff that you're seeing.
That standoff that you're seeing through aerials from our local affiliates, that is taking place in Torrance, California. That's 30 miles southwest of us approximately closer to the coast. And we've been seeing for a little bit now, these vehicles, armored SWAT vehicles to the front and the back of a white cargo van. It's been still for quite some time.
And the reason that a white cargo van could be important is that in an earlier press conference at City Hall here in Monterey Park, the Sheriff of Los Angeles County said that they were looking for a potential suspect vehicle fitting that description though to be fair, there wasn't a lot given out about the possible suspect and other things to look for.
These photos, we did get within the past hour. You see there photos related to an incident, however, in Alhambra, California, a city to the north of us, and they are trying to see if the Alhambra incident may be connected to this Monterey Park incident. The shooting in Monterey Park began when police got called at about 10:22 PM local time, and they said about 20 to 30 minutes later, they were made aware of a suspect, also an Asian male being described as going into a dance hall in Alhambra armed and there were people there who wrestled with this man, tackled him and took over his weapon.
And the law enforcement who were at this press conference told us they have recovered that weapon in Alhambra. They would not give a lot of details about it, only to say that it was not an assault rifle.
Beyond that, Jim, we're being told that the victims are five women and five men who were at this dance hall down the street. I've spoken to people who have been to that business in the past, including Congressmember Judy Chu, who represents this district and lives here. She has also been there before in the past and she says that this is a place where dance lessons, ballroom dance lessons are given. It's a place where people have fun and couples go there to learn.
And obviously this weekend is Lunar New Year weekend, and there should have been a festival behind us with more than 100,000 people who were here during the day yesterday. And of course, today's continuation of that festival was canceled.
This is supposed to be a joyous time for this community. Monterey Park is about 65 percent Asian according to the city's website, and you know, this is a huge holiday for this area, and there are plenty more celebrations going on both conducted by local entities, as well as private families and businesses throughout the area.
The Sheriff is telling people please still go out and enjoy yourselves and feel safe about that. But in speaking to residents nearby, we know that they feel a lot more hesitation. We know that they are shaken by this tragedy and that some people who have lived here for a decade or two have never seen this kind of violence in Monterey Park -- Jim.
ACOSTA: I'm sure it's just an unbelievably painful situation for that community.
Natasha, standby. I want to go to CNN's Josh Campbell. He is joining us on the phone and I know, Josh, you are reporting on, I guess what we believe to be the suspect's vehicle at this point. There is a standoff.
Police has surrounded this vehicle and they have released an image of the suspected gunman. What more can you tell us?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. A law enforcement source tells me that this ongoing standoff in Torrance, California is believed to be associated with that Monterey Park mass shooting.
Now, what we see from aerial footage from our affiliate there in Torrance, which is just about 30 miles southwest of Monterey Park where that incident took place is you see this white van that is there at a standstill, that's involved in some kind of standoff with law enforcement and this appears to be a white GMC or Chevrolet van.
The reason we can't tell for certain is because it is hemmed in, bumper to bumper by police SWAT Bearcat vehicles. Now, what we saw at the outset was there was one Bearcat that was nose to nose with this white van, and then eventually you saw the second SWAT vehicle come in, and now they've essentially fully immobilized this van.
We haven't seen any movement thus far. We've seen dozens of black and white police vehicles, since that time show up in and around that scene. Police, they have much of the area taped off. Our colleague, Paul Murphy is reporting that some of the businesses in and around this area are now in a state of lockdown.
Now, again, we don't know exactly what is happening inside that van. We have not seen any movement since the standoff began. We have seen in incidents in the past, you know, you and I, Jim have covered so many of these mass shootings and incidents of violence that sometimes when suspects are actually confronted by law enforcement, sometimes they take their own life.
So that is certainly a possibility here, but law enforcement, treating this, obviously, with great care. You have some of the officers that have been staged behind that Bearcat. You have officers who have been keeping a distance behind their patrol cars.
And the first thing that they would want to do is try to open up some kind of line of communication with the person inside, again, assuming this is the suspect, they want to you know, make contact and order that person out.
We'll have to wait and see how this actually transpires. It is worth pointing out to our viewers that CNN is not showing this image in real time. That is obviously for officer safety purposes. Bad guys watch television as well, and so this is on a delay, but we'll have to see how they actually finish this situation, as it's called, whether they bring in some type of explosive robot that, you know, is equipped with a camera that can pry inside that vehicle and give them more intelligence about what is happening, or whether we see officers actually stack up and move toward that vehicle to try to determine what's going on inside.
But right now, time is certainly on the side of police. That vehicle is not going anywhere. It is, as I mentioned, it's been hemmed in by these tactical vehicles.
And you know, I can tell you, Jim, there are a lot of questions we know about how this came to this point. Obviously, it's in a parking lot. That van is not parked in a particular spot where a vehicle would normally be. So it could be that law enforcement actually confronted this vehicle once they located it.
You know, I was a FBI agent here in Los Angeles, and there are multiple jurisdictions, multiple police agencies in this region that share information in real time. There are law enforcement portals set up for one agency to provide information to a host of other agencies. We know from the earlier press conference in Monterey Park with the Los Angeles Sheriff, that there was a white van that was believed to be somewhat connected or associated or a vehicle of interest as the Sheriff described.
And so that information being pushed out, certainly every law enforcement agency in the Los Angeles greater metropolitan area would be on the lookout for these types of vehicles.
And so again, we'll have to wait and see why this specific vehicle whether they had additional information about the license plate and the like, it is worth pointing out that these Bearcat vehicles that you're seeing on your screen, these are not vehicles that are typically out on patrol, they would have to be dispatched to a particular scene for a particular reason.
And so the question we have is, was that vehicle confronted by a local black and white officer who made -- you know, a police vehicle that made contact with it, and then they brought in additional tactical resources.
A lot of that we'll have to wait and see. We are -- we have seen vehicle coming in with a trailer, so it could be that we're about to see that robotic scenario that I described.
Again, they would use a robot to try to pry into that vehicle rather than a human being, because if this is indeed the suspect, we know that he is armed and dangerous, based on that just horrific tragedy that happened last night, and so they will be leaving nothing to chance.
So we'll have to wait and see how this unfolds, but again, law enforcement source tell tells me that the scene that you're seeing unfolding on your screen in Torrance, about 30 miles southwest of Monterey Park, California is believed to be associated with that tragic mass shooting last night -- Jim.
ACOSTA: Josh, just to ask the obvious, we just don't know for sure if the suspect is in that vehicle and that may be what law enforcement is making these next steps to figure out.
ACOSTA: We're looking at this these live or not live pictures, you said they were delayed pictures, but almost live pictures of what appears to be police personnel and tactical gear behind that Bearcat vehicle, the one that is nudging up against the back of that van, might they be preparing to do something more in terms of trying to figure out if the suspect is in that vehicle? Or is it possible that they've determined at this point that the suspect is not in the vehicle.
It is strange how the van is parked, sort of in the middle of that parking lot, not really in a space or anything. So, perhaps it was abandoned? I guess we just don't know the answer to some of these questions. CAMPBELL: Yes, we don't, at this point. It looks as though the brake lights are on in the vehicle, and if you look at that image, we have, again, we can't tell the direction, obviously, the sun that maybe is illuminating those lights, but this vehicle came to a stop for some reason, and it became of interest.
Again, a law enforcement source tells me this is believed to be associated with that Monterey Park, shooting, and so, after they got onto this vehicle, they were able to mobilize it with these tactical assets, and then after that, you know, again, time is on their side, unless the person inside poses a threat to the officers outside, law enforcement is going to slow down, they're going to take their time. Again, they're in the intelligence gathering phase now. They need to figure out who is inside.
And again, you know, I can tell you again, having worked in law enforcement, you treat every encounter that you have, based on how a reasonable person would operate. If a reasonable person were confronted by police, they would stop, they would get out of their vehicle. You know, they would be questioned. It wouldn't escalate to this type of encounter, where now you see tactical assets immobilizing this vehicle.
So again, that is another piece of information for police that they know that they're dealing with a person, assuming they're inside who is not willing to come out. And so again, the first thing they're going to try to do is open up a line of communication.
If there is not a line of communication, if it turns out again, we don't know specifically. But if this turns out like we've seen in other incidents, where perhaps the person inside ended up taking their own life, then police will then eventually move to additional options to gather intelligence, and that could be, again, either bringing in those technical assets, possibly an explosive detection-defusing robot, or police, actually, which we've seen as well getting in a stack behind the shield going up to the car.
But there is no reason for authorities at this point to rush in. As I mentioned earlier, our colleague, Paul Murphy was reporting that a lot of the businesses around the area were in a state of lockdown. So they want to ensure that the public is safe if this person inside the vehicle does pose a threat, but at least based on the posture of law enforcement, you see the SWAT officers there gathered behind the Bearcat.
There is no reason right now to rush in, and so we'll have to see how long this goes. But I can be -- you know, I can tell you with great certainty that although the public sometimes gets frustrated, you know, why is this thing not over? The police, the longer this goes and no one is hurt, it is a good day for law enforcement.
And so they're going to try to gather that information, try to ascertain what is actually happening inside. And then once the on- scene commander makes the decision that we're going to move in either with personnel or with technology, then they should get a greater sense of what's actually happening inside the vehicle. ACOSTA: All right, Josh Campbell, stay with us.
I want to note to our viewers on the right side of your screen, you're seeing that there appears to be a press conference in the works in Monterey Park, California. So we're standing by for that.
Let me go to CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem. She joins me now She is the former Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.
Juliette, before we talk about, you might have some thoughts on what we're looking at right now. I do want to point out what our colleague John Miller is reporting in just the last few minutes.
Law enforcement sources telling CNN that preliminary information from the ground in Torrance, California is that the police attempted to do a car stop of a white cargo van which fit the description of a vehicle of interest from the Saturday night shooting. As they gave commands for the occupants to exit the van, they heard and believed the driver may have shot himself.
They have now established containment of the van and it appears they may be moving towards a tactical approach to ensure that he is not alive and armed inside.
And so that is coming from our John Miller, Juliette. That would explain why law enforcement is taking their time with this obviously.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. Right.
The goal now is this ends as well as one could hope, which is no more harm done to the community or any harm done to law enforcement after such a tragedy occurred overnight.
And so just to pick up on what Josh was saying as well, time is on the public officials side. They've got this van surrounded. There is no need to rush it, they need to ensure that if our reporting is correct, that the assailant is dead or has committed suicide. There is no reason to rush this and so there is actually ways in which they can monitor heartbeats or any signs of movement, and that is likely what they're doing with higher and higher confidence as each minute goes by that they have eradicated the threat so to speak, and if it was self- inflicted, that is not unexpected in these situations as Josh was also saying.
KAYYEM: And you and I certainly know this is how a lot of these end, we don't even know if he had an exit plan, except for simply to hope that no one noticed the van that he was in. But it was -- remember it was only a few hours ago, I'm looking at my clock, maybe it was 11:30, where law enforcement identified the van that they were looking for.
So he was clearly on the run, at least from that moment and didn't get very far. Thirty miles in Los Angeles, it may take a long time on a weekday. On a Sunday, if he had left after the shootings, he would be much further. So that's what we're looking at in terms of geography and in terms of tactics right now.
I suspect, I heard you say, in my feed that they're setting up for a press conference. They are not setting up for a press conference, while they have that that van surrounded and do not know what's going on. That's another way of saying they're setting up for a press conference with anticipation that either the van was abandoned or the perpetrator is deceased. Those are the only options that they would have a press conference about.
ACOSTA: Right, right. They'll certainly want to update us when they have some conclusive information as to what is going on in that van.
All right, Juliette Kayyem, stay right there. Josh Campbell and Natasha Chen, all of the folks who are with us this afternoon to help us stay up to speed on this shooting in Monterey Park, California. We're going to take a quick break, we'll be right back. Stay with us.
ACOSTA: We're back now with our breaking news. You're looking at slightly delayed live pictures of a police standoff situation underway in Torrance, California. It is believed to be connected to the mass shooting in Monterey Park last night that killed 10 people and left another 10 people injured while we wait for a police update, that's what you see on the right side of your screen.
CNN's Josh Campbell is on the phone and back with us now; also, back with us is CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem.
And Josh Campbell, our colleague John Miller, is reporting that police attempted to do a car stop of a white cargo van which fit the description of a vehicle of interest from the Saturday night shooting, and as they gave commands for the occupant to exit the van, they heard and believed the driver may have shot himself.
We want to caution and underline the word believed here because we need to, obviously have some certainty in all of this. But they've now established containment of the van, as you've been saying, and it appears they may be moving towards some sort of approach to ensure what is exactly going on inside that van.
Josh, the latest from what you're hearing.
CAMPBELL: Yes, you know, you look at the images and it is clear that law enforcement, they're not in an aggressive posture at this point. We can often glean a lot by looking at them.
As you mentioned, the video feed that you're seeing is on a slight delay, that's for officer safety reasons. You know, if they decide to actually make entry, but at this point, they don't. They seem -- they are standing back. You know, as I was saying earlier, we've seen incidents before whenever a suspect is confronted by law enforcement, sometimes they opt to take their own life. And so that is something that now law enforcement will be working to try to confirm. But time is on their side at this point. They have that vehicle, that white van which is either a GMC or a Chevrolet that's hemmed in by these Bearcat SWAT vehicles. And they are in the information gathering stage right now.
There is no reason for them to rush in. CNN's Paul Murphy has been reporting that businesses in and around this area in Torrance are in a state of lockdown, which is understandable.
The suspect should be considered armed and dangerous because of that horrific incident we saw last night in Monterey Park, but authorities are trying to make some kind of contact with this individual, open up some kind of line of communication.
And if they ultimately assess that the suspect will not be communicating either because he chooses not to or if he indeed did take his own life, then they will move to an additional, more aggressive posture to move toward that vehicle.
You essentially have two options, you can use advanced technology. We've seen in the past where law enforcement will actually bring in explosive ordnance robots that can gather information with cameras. These robots are so sophisticated, they can open doors, they can break through windows.
All they need is that kind of confirmation that this person does not pose a threat. With these officers, the tactical officers gathered behind that Bearcat, they could also make the determination that they just want to, you know, make entry themselves perhaps using the ballistic shield.
Again, what they're waiting for is that confirmation that there is not a threat in that vehicle. But at this point, they are in no rush. There is no reason for them at this point to move in. So they're holding the scene.
But as I've mentioned earlier, a law enforcement source tells CNN that this is believed to be associated with the investigation into that mass shooting. We heard earlier from Sheriff Luna, that there was a white van that was a vehicle of interest.
I can tell you here in the Los Angeles area where I am, you know, having worked in law enforcement, there are a multitude of agencies here that share information regularly and the scene of the standoff is actually, Jim, about 30 miles southwest of that Monterey Park shooting. But information flows across these law enforcement portals, they're able to share leads and share tips, actually beyond the LA area statewide, nationwide.
And so it appears as though again, as you mentioned, according to reporting that an officer was trying to stop that vehicle that then resulted in this escalated situation.
As we wait for this press conference from authorities there in Monterey Park, we expect to get additional information as our colleague, Juliette Kayyem was stating earlier, that is something that they will likely do only if they have some update to provide, and it will be very interesting to see how that happens, that juxtaposed with the ongoing standoff situation.
But again, according to a law enforcement source, the standoff is believed to be associated with the investigation into that mass shooting and we'll have to wait and see what police do next, as they try to move in, gather more information and determine whether the person inside that vehicle poses a threat -- Jim.
ACOSTA: All right, let me go back to Juliette Kayyem.
Let me just ask you, Juliette. You're looking at some of the same live pictures that we're looking at right now, or almost live pictures that are on a slight delay, we should note to our viewers for the safety of the officers.
But those law enforcement personnel dressed in tactical gear behind that armored vehicle behind the white van. They don't seem to be, you know, gearing up for any kind of confrontation with the white van. I mean, that gives us some indication that this white van is not really posing a threat right now.
KAYYEM: That's exactly right, and I'm not sure what we're seeing on the other side, in terms of -- clearly, there is going to be some sort of press conference, and one has to assume they're going to be -- it is going to be time to news. I'm looking at the split screen here, just like you with very different scenes.
So with the white man, there literally is right now no reason to rush this. The community is under a lockdown. We would assume that the community and the population are safe at this stage. We have been told and have reason to believe just based on what we know about the gunman that this is not a nationwide threat. This is not a threat to other events.
The law enforcement and the community leaders have been very, very wise in promoting continuing celebrations to the extent one can in the surrounding areas. You do not want to have population including the AAPI population living in fear, and that is sort of where we are right now.
I suspect that this looks like a lot of people at this press conference, so I suspect we will hear some news.
ACOSTA: Thank you very much, Juliette Kayyem. That's right. It looks like officials have gathered here to get a press conference going to update us with the latest. Let's go to that now.
CAPT. ANDREW MEYER, LA COUNTY SHERIFF'S HOMICIDE: I am Captain Andrew Meyer from LA County Sheriff's Homicide.
I'd like to introduce you to Sheriff Luna, who is here to update you regarding the mass shooting that occurred last night -- Sheriff Luna.
SHERIFF ROBERT G. LUNA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Thank you, Captain.
As most of you were here earlier today, it is very important for our community to be updated on something as significant and tragic as this, so we're back up here, making ourselves available to you for any questions.
I think you're aware that at 11:18 this morning, we released bulletin with a picture or an image of what we believe to be the suspect. We haven't named him and there is a reason for that.
There are -- we have a lot of resources in the Sheriff's Department working with other agencies to make sure again, that our priority beyond taking care of the victims and survivors of this horrible incident that we get this man off the streets.
So, I think you all of you have received this. I want to address also that there is a tactical incident that is occurring in the City of Torrance that are is being covered. People have asked: Is that your suspect? We don't know.
As I said earlier today, we had a vehicle that was described as a white box van, I guess, you'd say, a van of interest and there is a man that looks just like what was described to us in the City of Torrance.
It is a barricaded suspect situation. We are working with one of our partner agencies at Torrance Police Department to resolve that. There is a person inside of that vehicle. We don't know, but we are going to handle that in the safest manner that we possibly can to try and identify that person.
Could it be our suspect? Possibly. But at this point, if we're doing our jobs correctly, we're not only looking at that situation or scenario, but we're making sure that we are looking at any and every possibility.
So I do encourage our community, if they have any leads, maybe they saw the picture of this individual to come forward with any information that they believe may help us in this very critical and important investigation. That's going to be very important.
LUNA: I also want to talk about the victim survivor center. In response to our mass shooting this morning, a Victim Resource Center has been set up at the Langley Senior Citizens Center located at 400 West Emerson Avenue, and I want to make sure that the appropriate victims, families, friends, take advantage of that resource.
There are many people behind me, some of them will speak, representatives from different agencies and there are so many parts to this response, the medical side of it, but as we are looking for this suspect, we will not forget the victims and survivors and it is important because I can -- you can just imagine the trauma that they've experienced, and it is our responsibility to wrap our arms around them. So representatives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the District Attorney's Office and the District Attorney George Gascon is standing here with us, the Red Cross, the Department of Health Victim Services are at the center to assist the victims, survivors, and their families.
If anyone believes their relative may be a victim, please contact representatives at this Victims Resource Center that I'm talking again about. And again, if you think that you have questions, you're upset, you haven't been able to locate a family member that you think is involved, please go out to this victim center and we will assist you, that's why we're there.
At the center, we also have members from the Psychological Services Bureau from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. And as we go hour by hour, if we see any other needs, there are multiple agencies that have contacted us.
Everybody wants to help, which is amazing in this time, because we need to depend on each other in difficult circuit circumstances like this.
So with that, I am going to turn it over to the next speaker, and I'll be here for questions at the end. Thank you.
HILDA SOLIS, LA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Thank you, Sheriff Luna. And I also want to congratulate and actually give credit to the First Responders, as well as our Sheriff team and the city of Monterey Park, the Chief of Police, the many Deputies and as well as the DA Gascon, and also to our elected officials that are here with us this morning representing the City of Monterey Park.
I am, as you know, very heartbroken to hear of the news of what occurred with the individuals that lost their lives, but I think now we have to look at the victims, the survivors. And as the Sheriff said, this is what the county does best, help provide assistance, mental health services, any kind of relief that is possibly and legally conceivable for us to provide. We are here to support all of the families in this community and help them in their healing.
It is tragic what happened, but let's also think about the people who put their lives out there on stage every single day as well to protect us, our safety and wellbeing and also our physicians, the ones that I can tell you over at LSC USC, that are right now treating at least four of the other victims there.
I also want to say that they have also devoted their service to help provide us in our community. The County's Office of Emergency Management has also been providing support and leveraging mental health resources at this very traumatic time, along with the City of Monterey Park, which as you know, and you can see, are very united and very resilient.
Again, a heartfelt note to the families who lost their loved ones, and to those that are recovering at this time, and with the help of the public, we can help to identify the individual that was behind this incident. Thank you.
CHIEF SCOTT WIESE, MONTEREY PARK POLICE: Good afternoon, everyone. You know, this was supposed to be a moment -- a time of celebration. We are celebrating Lunar New Year's, which is such an important component of many communities around LA.
So the first thing that I want to do is I want to express my condolences not only to the victims' families, but the entire AAPI community.
WEISE: My office has multiple roles in this case. Number one, by State law, we run a Mass Casualty Response Unit, and since very early this morning, we began to mobilize countywide resources in my office as well, in order to provide services to the victim's family and to the community. And this is work that will -- it began today, but quite frankly, will go on for months and possibly years.
You know, the impact of trauma from this event goes on for a very long time.
I want to thank the Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Luna and the Monterey Park Police Department for the incredible work they have done. We've had also our own law enforcement component that has been here since very early on working first with the Monterey Police Department and we will continue to do that with the Sheriff and other partners, clearly, depending whether an individual is arrested, we will talk about prosecution on a later date and that is appropriate.
I also want to thank the US Justice Department, our US attorney who is here today with us. Again, this is a joint effort and depending on what the conditions are, the Bureau of Investigation is also part of this work.
But what I want to make sure that we get across to our entire community is that we are a united community. When one of us is attacked, we're all here together. And regardless of what the motive was for this horrendous impact -- for this horrendous event, we will continue to work together.
We're here with Monterey Park, with the San Gabriel Valley, we have our entire community and we're not only here today, we will be here every day until the work is done.
WIESE: I'd like to thank everybody for coming out right now, and I want to speak to the Monterey Park Community directly.
Our police department, our city continues to provide protective services, throughout this incident. We work with our partners both on a county, State and a Federal level and try to resolve the situation as best we can and take our suspect into custody.
The Sheriff talked about the Langley Center, that's where our victim assistance has been set up. I ask that the partners in the press give those victims' families a little bit of space over there, so that they can get information. You can imagine when they woke up this morning after the Lunar New Year festivals from yesterday, and they may not have found their loved one next to them in the bed or at home, and how that is affecting everybody in this community right now.
I want to ensure everybody that as we get more information, we'll put it out as much as we can and the Monterey Park Police Department is here as your partner in the community to keep it safe. And related to the incident, we will try to get information out as soon as we get it.
I have a lot of uniformed police officers that are out on the street. Every single one of them has committed to the community and if someone in the community has a question, has a concern, is scared, that officer is out there to make sure that they're okay and all they have to do is reach out and ask the question.
I'm going to open it up to any questions. Thank you.
LUNA: Yes, it is a possibility.
LUNA: I don't have that information here in front of me, but that's also possible from -- yes.
REPORTER: Do you have a name because you released the picture or are you withholding the name and why is that?
LUNA: We are withholding the name at this time, and as I stated earlier, it is a priority to apprehend this person and we have a lot of resources throughout this entire region. And we believe if we are putting his name out, that will inhibit our ability to potentially arrest the suspect if he's out there, or maybe flee.
So please, please be patient with us. You've been patient thus far. And this is why we're going to keep our word that we're going to continuously update you, because the community, I understand they're thirsty for information. And yes, we did put his picture out and that is because from a public safety perspective, we want people to see who this is and then give us any information that they may have about his whereabouts, so that we can safely take him into custody.
REPORTER: Is there any -- but do we know if this individual was working by himself and the knowledge of this situation?
LUNA: No, we don't, and we have to keep all those options open. Was he by himself? Were there other suspects? Our detectives are looking at every angle and that is the important thing that good investigators do, right? To keep every option on the table until we know for sure what the motive was, who else was involved, and other than getting this suspect into custody, and providing the best case to either the District Attorney or the US Attorney's Office, our job is to collect every shred of this awful puzzle that has been laid out by the suspect. So, work in progress.
LUNA: We've been asked that and we're looking at every angle, whether it's domestic violence, the question was asked earlier about a hate crime. You have to leave the door open for any possibility.
Until we understand who the suspect is, what his motives are, where he came from, what his intention was, at the end of the day, as a Sheriff's Department Investigative Unit, we are responsible for providing all the facts and evidence to our partners in the prosecutor's office, so we can prosecute this individual to the full extent of the law.
LUNA: I don't have that information right now in front of me. We should be able to follow up with you on that this incident goes on.
REPORTER: Sheriff, would you be able to confirm at this point that the suspect in the second location was in fact the same one who perpetrated this mass shooting at -- here in Monterey Park?
LUNA: We believe it is. I'm not confirming it a hundred percent because again, we still have to put this whole thing together. But the picture or the image that we're showing you is from the second location, and we believe that they are both connected.
But again, we leave every option on the table. We have to leave it open because we don't want to focus on one area while someone else is getting away, so we've got to be open to all of it.
REPORTER: But how he was apprehended -- I mean, for a while by the patrons at Lai Lai Dance Hall, what kind of weapon was recovered from him? And how did you get away?
LUNA: Earlier today, in regards to the weapon, I could tell you that it's not a high-powered assault rifle, but I don't want to get into the specifics on the weapon. In time, we will. Everyone will get exactly what that is, but I don't want to say anything that will impact or create more challenges for us in trying to apprehend this person.
LUNA: We don't know that yet. And for us, just like I'm saying that there may be one suspect, we think there is one, there may be more. We also have to assume there may be more than one weapon. Right? We may have recovered one. When we find them, that doesn't mean he is not armed and dangerous.
REPORTER: Sheriff, finally, can you (INAUDIBLE). What is new other than the photo?
LUNA: Well --
REPORTER: I mean, the update you got everyone here, I am just trying to -- I am trying to see if there anything new other than the photo.
LUNA: We have the photo that's new. There's the incident that's occurring in Torrance where obviously there are a lot of questions and concerns about that. That's the update that we have.
REPORTER: But there is nothing from that. You are not able to tell us anything from that. I am just asking if there is anything definitive that you can tell us.
LUNA: And I'm giving you definitive information now, and I am giving you the information that we have. And I had a choice to sit back and not come out here and be available or come out here, like we talked about earlier and every time we get even a shred of an update to give you what we have, because there's significant public interest in this as there should be.
So if we call you out here in two hours, I'm hoping there's more information to provide because I want this solved as much as anybody out there does.
We want to -- this has been painful.
Let me go over here.
LUNA: I don't have that information in front of me.
LUNA: Yes, typically I don't put out the specific locations just out of respect for the business. I'm sure as the day goes on, we'll be putting down those specific names of the businesses because as you can imagine, if you're the business owner there, and you have this horrible incident, they're traumatized as well.
REPORTER: What hospitals were the victims taken to?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One more question. One more.
LUNA: We go over here.
REPORTER: What hospitals were the victims taken to?
LUNA: You know, it is normal that when we have victims of violent crime, we don't talk about specific hospitals, and I'm going to share just a quick story as to why we don't.
Earlier, it may have been mentioned that they were at a specific hospital, and somebody called one of those hospitals to say something along the lines that they want to go and finish a job. That is absolutely horrible.
So again, I don't believe that's the information -- please, these victims and survivors are dealing with so much, let's not traumatize them more.
Yes, be patient with us and our Sheriff's Information Bureau will put out another time where we're coming out and I hope to have even better information. But as of right now, that's what we have. And again, thoughts and prayers to all the families involved in this. It's a horrible incident for our county.
So, thank you very much.
ACOSTA: That was the LA County Sheriff Robert Luna holding a news conference to update the public on the situation that's unfolding in Torrance, California, where you see law enforcement vehicles have pinned in this white cargo van in this parking lot.
It is, I guess, the assessment of law enforcement officials at this point that this is possibly the suspect that they are looking for. They're trying to make sure that there aren't any other suspects that may be connected with this mass shooting in Monterey Park, California.
But in just the last several minutes, we do want to alert our viewers as we were listening to the Sheriff just a few moments ago, there was another law enforcement vehicle there that you can see sort of at the bottom of your screen, we are rolling the tape of this now, where you could see this black armored police vehicle, driving very slowly alongside both the passenger side and the driver side of this white cargo van.
And I want to turn now to Josh Campbell and Juliette Kayyem. Let me go to you, Josh, first. Any sense as to what this vehicle was doing when it was passing this white cargo van?
It looked as though they were perhaps trying to scan the inside of the vehicle? Perhaps maybe I've seen too many movies, but it looks like they were trying to ascertain whether or not the person inside that van is moving anymore. What more can you tell us?
CAMPBELL: Yes, this is the information gathering phase right now. Again, as we mentioned earlier, there appears to be no imminent threat from whoever is inside that vehicle. It could be because that individual has indeed taken their life as it would be reported earlier as a possibility.
But as you see that third Bearcat with the Sheriff's Department come alongside. They are essentially gathering information. You have visual gathering of information, as you alluded to. There are other technical measures that police can use in order to detect whether there is an actual person inside.
There is also a police drone that is being flown above that van, and it is actually a uniformed officer who was sitting in the back of the rear of that Bearcat behind the van who was actually controlling that drone and we saw him step out earlier with his control panel, then go back inside the vehicle.
Again, they're basically targeting this van with every possible means that they can to gather information, to determine if there is indeed a threat inside that van.
Now, again, there are a lot of possibilities. I can tell you, if you were dealing with an armed and dangerous suspect, and you have police roll up alongside, you would expect that you know, perhaps there would be some kind of confrontation so that could lend itself to the theory that this person may be incapacitated, perhaps by their own doing.
But essentially law enforcement is just gathering information right now, at some point they'll make the determination whether visually or electronically, they determine that the person inside isn't moving, whether they then want to bring in personnel, but that always poses a challenge.
And I'll reiterate what you've been saying, the images that our viewers are seeing on the screen, CNN is actually putting on a delay and that's for officer safety purposes.
Obviously, if they are dealing with an armed and dangerous subject, we don't want to show the real-time movement of tactical officers, but as they try to gather information about what is happening inside, that will then inform the on-scene commander who will make that decision, whether they want to bring in additional technical means to gather additional information, or whether they stack up those SWAT officers, you know, behind the shield, and then walk up for that vehicle and try to make entry.
CAMPBELL: But as we've been explaining, since the standoff kicked off, there is no rush at this point. The van certainly does not pose a threat to those officers, at least as we see visually. We do know that law enforcement has created a very wide perimeter around this area in Torrance, and this is about 30 miles southwest of the actual crime scene in Monterey Park.
And as you and I were discussing earlier here, where I am in the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles area, you have a multitude of law enforcement jurisdictions that share information, and this vehicle came on their radar.
I'm told by law enforcement sources, this is believed to be associated with that Monterey Park mass shooting and now, they are going about the process methodically to try to determine who was inside, whether that person poses a threat, and we will have to see how long this goes.
Again, law enforcement, certainly not on any timeline, so long as the person inside that van does not seem to pose a threat to them -- Jim.
ACOSTA: Josh, thank you for that. And Juliette Kayyem, your sense of things, after listening to that press conference. What's your sense of it?
KAYYEM: I would agree with Josh on the Torrance side of this, that you're not seeing anything in a hurry. The only things I would add to it is also, the number one priority now is that there isn't -- there aren't any booby traps, either, anything that would get triggered, say by the opening of a door. We don't know how sophisticated the killer is, and so they are going to protect themselves.
So they are also taking audio to make sure they're not hearing anything or any sound. So that's just basically the intelligence gathering side of this with drones and the vans and the pass by that we're seeing. And once again, you know, not only is it on delay, but this is not an aggressive police action right now, meaning either no one is in there or he is dead at this stage.
So then back to the second press conference or the press conference that we heard. There were questions about why is this press conference happening simultaneously with what was happening in Torrance, and I don't need to defend or no one has to have an opinion.
I think it goes to the challenge or the horror of what today means for the Asian-American community that this happened on the Lunar New Year.
A friend of mine reminded me, for those who celebrate the Lunar New Year, it is believed that what happens on this day or yesterday sets the stage for the year, and that is why there is so much celebration.
And so what you saw today with the Sheriff was predominantly an outreach to the community to help them feel that they can regain this year and this day and this horror, tell them what resources are available. The exact timing may not have been ideal, but remember, there are the victims, there's the investigation, but then there's a community who honestly may not even, you know, yes, we care what the motivation is, but it is a community that's been impacted on their day, on the day that matters most to them.
So it is like July 4th, or it is maybe even like a High Holiday in the Jewish community and that is what that press conference was about.
ACOSTA: Yes. So much meaning for the Asian-American community there in California, and it is just awful what has happened. And Juliette, as you're -- as we're talking here, we have some live images taking place right now. It looks as though law enforcement personnel have gone up to the side of this van and they are going to go into this van or attempt to go into this van.
Juliette, this appears to be the end game in all of this. The LA County Sheriff's Department, they are ready to wrap this up.
KAYYEM: Yes, let's hope and once again, remind everyone we are on delay. No one is in threat. We're not going to see gunfire live. Here we go. This is --
ACOSTA: They are smashing the window.
KAYYEM: This is it. They would have had a robot -- yes, they would have had a robot do this. They would have not put this men in -- it's all men in harm's way, unless they absolutely knew a hundred percent. The only question is, is there someone in there? We have to believe there is just based on the circumstances -- what we heard the Sheriff say earlier and now they will -- here we go. Yes. I mean, we are seeing the same thing.
ACOSTA: Yes, officers -- Juliette, yes, the officers are entering the vehicle.
ACOSTA: This is happening just moments after we saw that one armored vehicle drive up along both sides of the van, presumably to scan or do some sort of enhanced listening or detection to see whether or not anybody is moving inside this van so they can make this move that they're making right now and that is to see whether or not the suspect is indeed inside and whether or not he is still alive at this point.
ACOSTA: And we want to remind our viewers, you are watching slightly delayed live pictures coming in from our affiliate KABC. This is in Torrance, California.
Police have surrounded -- LA County Sheriff's Department officers have surrounded a white cargo van in a parking lot in Torrance, California, a vehicle that they believe may contain the suspect from last night's deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park, California that left 10 people dead, 10 Other people injured.
You can see the officers right now, they are opening up the side doors of that white cargo van.
KAYYEM: There we go.
ACOSTA: Camila Bernal is live on the scene for us right now. Camila, what can you see from your standpoint?
All right, I was told we had Camila Bernal, but we don't. You could see officers along the side doors there of that white cargo van. They were just opening up those doors to pull what was in the back of that van out of the van and onto the parking lot.
We broke away from those images. We're now showing you the reverse side of that white cargo van. We want to caution our viewers, we're trying to take as much care as possible to not show things to the public that should not frankly be shown to the public in circumstances like this.
But just to recap and remind our viewers, if you're just tuning in, what you're looking at, and that is LA County Sheriff's Department officers who are on the scene at a parking lot in Torrance, California about 30 miles away from the scene of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California and just a few moments ago, an armored vehicle was going up and down the side -- the sides of that white cargo van presumably to make one final check that the person inside that van poses no threat to the community.
And then in just the last several moments, we saw officers armed going up to the side of that vehicle, opening up the passenger side window after smashing out that window there. And now opening up the side doors there.
We've gone back to that picture that we are showing to you right now. We don't know whether or not just yet whether the suspect was inside, you can see some contents of that van that were pulled out onto the parking lot sitting there on the ground as we speak.
Obviously, the officers are not proceeding there to be any threat at this point. They're moving around and going through the contents of the vehicle. I don't know if Juliette Kayyem is still with me right now.
KAYYEM: I am here.
ACOSTA: Looking at these images, Juliette, what are you seeing? This looks as though they're trying to wrap this up and bring it to some kind of conclusion as to whatever is happening with this white cargo van.
We don't have definitive --
ACOSTA: -- word from the Sheriff's Department that this is the suspect, but they are trying -- it looks like they're trying to get to the bottom of that very question right now.
KAYYEM: Right, and so we wait to see, as I said earlier, it's either empty or someone is dead. That was the only explanation for the police posture and this truck coming up on the other side might, you know, might be to protect any images, we don't know.
But, you know, the police had reason to believe there was someone in the car for obvious reasons in some of our reporting. And so now it is just now if there is a body in there, a self-inflicted wound, they will extract that body, and we will hear relatively soon.
I'm surprised, I'll just tell you, just looking at this in real time, based on my experience that there are people in there now. Okay, so, it looked like they had abandoned the van. So here we are looking at this image. Now, I see this person here now.
And so this is, we'll just wait and see who was in the car and their identification and then move back to, I think a very, very important part of this, which is the specter of what this means for that community.
And that's what -- you saw that -- that's what we saw in those split screens. A sheriff talking to a community that is just completely impacted by this on their day of celebration and an investigation unfolding, and so we will see what happens in the next five to 10 minutes. ACOSTA: Yes, Juliette. It looks as though there may be somebody in the driver's seat there. It is just difficult. You can see one officer climbing into the passenger's seat.
KAYYEM: I see that.
ACOSTA: As we speak, we see another officer on the other side, the driver's side of the vehicle, that side of the vehicle is shielded from this camera that is taking these --
KAYYEM: That's right.
ACOSTA: -- almost live images. I think we'll have to say thank goodness to that. We don't want to see all of that in all of its detail.