Dance instructors at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California, called the venue a gathering place for the local Chinese community.
The studio hosts a variety of classes and private lessons, which instructor Oleksandr Kamniev said focus on ballroom dancing and Latin standards. The studio also rented out its ballroom space — which has an area for karaoke — for private parties.
“For parties, it’s a big thing,” Kamniev said, adding that sometimes as many as 300 people attended. “A lot of Chinese people love to come here.”
Kamniev estimated “99%” of Star’s dance students were Chinese, and ranged in age from 4 to 75. Sundays, he said, were usually kids’ days at the studio.
According to a CNN analysis, Saturday’s mass shooting took place in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. Ten people were killed and 10 others were wounded in the shooting, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said.
Kamniev and his wife, Kateryna Kamnieva, taught Latin dancing at the studio for several years. They were not present at the shooting.
Kamniev and his wife said they believed the studio owner was at the venue Saturday night. They said they reached out to her and were waiting to hear back when they spoke with CNN.