A celebration turned into a nightmare for one couple on the dance floor.

Jeff and Nancy Liu hit the dance studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night to celebrate the Lunar New Year. But what should have been a night of celebration turned into a night of horrors, his daughter, Juno Blees, would later recount, when Mr. Liu saw a man burst in with a gun and open fire. During the chaos, Mr. Liu saw her wife collapse, Blees said, and has not seen her since.

The family is praying that they will take her to a hospital and that they will be reunited soon. The couple, who immigrated from China more than 25 years ago, were rarely apart, Blees said in a phone interview Sunday.

Two bullets grazed Mr. Liu, his daughter said, causing minor injuries to his shoulder and back that sent him to a hospital. “He bled a lot, but the doctors said he wasn’t life threatening,” Ms Blees said.

Mr Liu, 62, was released from the hospital on Sunday and returned home to recuperate, Ms Blees said. She hoped that the reason her mother, who is 63, has not been located is because she forgot to bring her identification card to the ballroom. Ms. Blees said she visited the victim resource center set up by Monterey Park officials Sunday afternoon and was told to leave her contact information in case her mother was found.

“We are mentally preparing for the worst,” he said.

Mr. Liu told his daughter that he and his wife frequented the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where the clientele are mostly middle-aged or older residents of the area, many of them immigrants from China like their parents. “They know everybody,” Blees said.

Mr. Liu was standing towards the entrance, watching people dance, when the gunman started shooting. He told his daughter that he saw the gunman open fire on a dance hall operator who was selling tickets at a booth. Ms. Blees said her father “immediately fell to the floor”.

“He felt warmth on his shoulder,” he said. “That’s when he knew he probably got hurt.”

Panic and screams followed. “Then he said that he saw the gunman take off after opening fire,” she said. During the commotion, Mr. Liu saw her wife fall to the ground and lost sight of her as he was taken to an ambulance.

“He saw her collapse and they broke up,” she said. “They got separated during the panic that followed. So we’re hoping for the best right now.”

susan c beach contributed research.