The heroic onlooker who brought down the Monterey Park gunman after murdering 10 people at a California dance hall spoke this morning about how he brought down the 72-year-old.
Brandon Tsay was at the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in Alhambra at 10.40pm last night when gunman Huu Can Tran burst through the doors armed with an illegal semi-automatic pistol.
Tsay is a 26-year-old computer coder whose family owns the Lai Lai. He helped out on Saturday when dozens descended on the ballroom for a Lunar New Year party.
Tran had already killed 10 people at Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park. Police sources say he was “looking for his wife”. It is still unclear whether she is one of the victims.
Hero Brandon Tsay, 26, wrestled the gun out of Huu Can Tran’s hand after he turned up at the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in Alhambra in search of more victims on Saturday night. Tran, pictured wearing a hat and all black, had just killed ten people at another studio
Say,. 26, told Good Morning America that he thought he was going to die when he saw Tran enter the ballroom with his gun. “Something came over me…I thought I have to take that gun away from him or we’re all going to die,” he said
EXCLUSIVE: “I realized I had to take the gun away from him and disarm him or everyone else would have died.”
Brandon Tsay, who helped disarm the gunman who allegedly shot 20 people dead, 10 of them fatally, during California’s Lunar New Year celebrations, speaks out. https://t.co/O3eNuELr9O pic.twitter.com/OXTCXgml1u
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 23, 2023
Tran was looking for more victims when Tsay – whose family owns the Lai Lai Ballroom – confronted him, grabbed his gun after a fight and shooed him away.
In conversation with Good morning America On Monday, he described the moment he realized the shooter had come to kill.
Gunman Huu Can Tran killed himself while trying to escape on Sunday
“It was Chinese New Year, we held a social dance party.
“I was in the lobby and it was late in the evening. Most of our customers have already left, I looked into the dance ballroom.
“At that moment, I heard the creaking of the front door, followed immediately by the sound of metal objects rubbing together.
“I turned and saw that there was an Asian man holding a gun. My first thought was an Asian man with a gun.
“My first thought was that I was going to die here. That’s it.’
He told the New York Times in a separate interview that attacking him was a “primal instinct” and that trans eyes were “menacing.”
Tsay had never seen Tran before.
He said he knew immediately he was here to commit a mass shooting and was scanning the room for targets.
A fight ensued between the two, with Tran punching Tsay and hitting him with the gun
Tsay fought back, eventually driving Tran out of the ballroom lobby before he could shoot anyone
Tsay knocked the rifleman’s glasses off his face during the fight. Tran fled and later killed himself
The fight took place at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, the shooter’s second stop
“I could tell he wasn’t here to rob us, he wasn’t looking for money. He looked around the room. It seemed he was looking for targets, people to harm.
“Something came over me – I realized I had to take this gun and disarm him or everyone would have died.
“When I got up the nerve, I lunged at him with both hands, grabbed the gun, and we fought our way into the lobby trying to get that gun away from each other. He slapped my face and hit me on the head.
Something came over me – I realized I had to take this gun and disarm him or everyone would have died.
“I tried to create some distance. Eventually, I finally managed to pull the gun away from him, pushing him aside and gaining some distance.
“I could get the gun and point it at him, bully him, yell, ‘Get the fuck out of here! I shoot!
“At that point I thought he was going to run away. He debated whether to fight or run. I really thought I had to shoot him. At that moment he turned and walked out the door and back to his van.
“I immediately called the police, gun still in hand. I couldn’t believe what happened,” he said.
His first stop was the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, where ten were killed
After the Monterey Park shooting, the shooter entered the Lai Lai ballroom at the nearby Alhambra. But Gönner wrested the gun away from him and he fled
Tran was pulled over by police shortly after being spotted in hospital for treatment. A SWAT team ambushed the van after a three-hour standoff
After an hours-long standoff, Tran died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the van he fled after his attempt at a second shooting, which was thwarted by “Hero” guests on Saturday
Tran was carrying a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine, and a second pistol was discovered in the van where he was found dead, officials said
Tran is believed to have traveled from the Lai Lai ballroom to a nearby hospital.
He then got back in his white van – which had stolen license plates – and drove 22 miles to Torrance.
A SWAT team surrounded the vehicle and found him dead inside when he broke through.
Police have yet to confirm exactly what led him to commit the murders, but a source told LA Magazine it was a “domestic argument” and he was “looking for his wife.”
His first wife – who he divorced in 2005 – has since spoken anonymously to CNN to describe how they met at Star Dance, where he taught classes for years.
The woman said he would often scold her if she missed a dance step and that he would get angry easily.
It remains unclear what Tran did for a living.
Tsay’s family praised his efforts and said he was lucky to be alive.
“It was just my son. He could have died. He’s lucky someone was looking after him,” his father Tom told The Times.
Hunter Zhao, 41, holds flowers to honor the victims killed in the ballroom dance studio shooting on Sunday, January 22, 2023 in Monterey Park, California