A stunning Saturday night mass shooting outside Los Angeles marked the nation’s fifth mass killing in the young new year — and was the deadliest since the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school massacre in May 2022.
An unidentified man opened fire at a ballroom dance studio in the Asian-American enclave of Monterey Park following the first night of Lunar New Year celebrations in the San Gabriel Valley city of about 60,000.
Ten people were killed and at least 10 others were injured in the carnage, officials said. It was not immediately clear if the slaughter was random, targeted or motivated by hate.
The calamity came on the heels of one of the worst years ever for US mass killings. Forty-two such attacks — defined as an event where four people are murdered, excluding the killer — were recorded in 2022, according to a The Associated Press/USA Today database.
Last year marked the country’s second highest mass killing death toll, with 210, since the start of record-keeping in 2006, and saw the third-highest number of such attacks — 42 — after 2017 and 2019.
Although public mass killings with indiscriminate victims — like the 19 young students and two children slaughtered by a deranged teenager at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde — the vast majority of mass murders are carried out in private by family members or acquaintances of the victims, the data showed.
“A guy who kills his wife and children and sometimes kills himself is the most common type of mass killing,” said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern University in Boston who overseas the database.
Of more than 650 mass murders studied, nearly 600 were committed by men and the vast majority were carried out with guns, according to the report.
Random mass shootings were most likely committed by younger men, while middleage men were more likely to be behind the trigger in domestic massacres, according to the database.
The approximately 2,800 victims of such casualties since 2006 were slightly more likely to be male than female, and mass shootings with high death tolls often took place outside of large cities.
White people were more than twice as likely than those of any other race to be victimized by a mass shooting, and also more likely to carry out the heinous crimes, the study showed.
Some 225 white suspects had been identified as perpetrators of mass killings compared with 216 black suspects and 83 Hispanic suspects.
The database does not include killings linked to drug dealers, gang members or other criminal-on-criminal violence.
A study in the medical trade journal Psychiatric Times found the typical shooter profile was an aggrieved, emotionally unstable isolated man.
“The ones who are more apt to commit mass murder are the ones who are paranoid, and who are suspicious and mistrusting and think that everyone is against them,” said Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University.
“It’s somebody who has fewer capacities at his disposal for adjusting to the crisis of losing the job or the girlfriend and will feel that life is over.”
The Uvalde shooting and a Buffalo, NY, “raciallymotivated” shooting at a supermarket in a black neighborhood that killed ten people weeks earlier, prompted Albany lawmakers to ban guns in many public places, including public transportation, bars, churches and Times Square.
A month after the duel tragedies, President Biden signed the first major national gun safety bill in decades. The bill enhanced background checks on the youngest gun buyers, provided millions for mental health services and gave state’s incentive to pass red flag laws.