monterey park mass shooting

‘Police Are Coming': 911 Calls Released in California Dance Studio Mass Shooting

Police and fire department dispatchers can be heard trying to reassure callers that help is on the way after a shooting during a night of Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park.

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The first 911 call about a shooting at a Monterey Park dance hall was received at 10:22 p.m.

More soon followed on a chaotic and tragic night during Lunar New Year celebrations in the San Gabriel Valley community east of Los Angeles.

One of the first callers desperately needed help in the parking lot outside Star Ballroom Dance Studio. Someone had opened fire on his car as he and his girlfriend were leaving, he told a fire department dispatcher.

Dispatcher: “Is your girlfriend awake?”

Caller: “I’m not sure.”

The dispatcher asked whether the victim can talk.

Caller: "No, she cannot talk."

Dispatcher: "Is she breathing? Taking breaths."

After a pause, the man said, "No, maybe she died. I'm not sure."

"The paramedics and the police are coming," the dispatcher said after the caller described the victim's condition.

The call was one of several Feb. 21 from the dance hall where 11 people, ages 57 to 76, were killed and nine were injured. The shooter who opened fire in the parking lot entered the ballroom, spraying the room with gunfire, according to authorities.

The calls with police and fire department dispatchers were released Thursday by the Monterey Park City Clerk. They offer more details about the timeline of events that night and the desperation and terror faced by callers.

Authorities responding to the first calls found victims in the parking lot and inside the ballroom.

In another 911 call, the caller told the dispatcher that the shooter appeared to be reloading his weapon. Another call was received from the nearby Clam House restaurant, where people who had just entered reported a man with a gun.

The caller can be heard talking to witnesses who saw the armed man.

Dispatcher: "Where did this person go?"

Caller: "I have no idea."

Another caller said the shooter had just left the dance studio.

Caller: "Somebody's using a gun, shooting people inside the studio. We just came out."

The dispatcher asked the caller to confirm the address is Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

Dispatcher: "How long ago?"

Caller: "Just two minutes ago."

Dispatcher: "Can you see if anyone's hurt?"

Caller: "I don't know. It happened so fast."

Police and fire dispatchers can be heard trying to reassure callers that help was on the way and attempting to determine the location of the shooter.

The gunman entered another ballroom in nearby Alhambra, where he was disarmed by a man in the lobby, an act of courage that authorities said likely saved lives. The shooter died hours later in a Torrance strip mall parking lot from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Authorities continue to explore possible motives for the shooting. The gunman had no known personal connection to anyone at the dance hall and had not visited the studio during the last five years.

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