A 26-year-old California man looked down the barrel of a mass shooter’s gun Saturday night. Despite a presumption that he would die, Brandon Tsay ensured that the innocents in his family’s dance hall would not suffer the same fate as the 11 people the gunman had just slain at a nearby ballroom.
What are the details?
72-year-old Huu Can Tran allegedly killed 11 people and injured several others Saturday evening at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California, where Asian-Americans and others were celebrating the Lunar New Year Festival.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, Tran used a magazine-fed semiautomatic 9-millimeter MAC-10 with an extended large-capacity magazine — a weapon reportedly illegal in California. In a search of Tran’s home, police found a large amount of ammunition, a rifle, and possible evidence that he had been making firearm silencers. Investigators also found a Norinco 7.62 x 25 semiautomatic handgun in the alleged shooter’s van.
Twenty minutes after committing the first massacre, the shooter visited a second location just two miles north: the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio.
Brandon Tsay was standing by the ticket office and watching the remaining three people on the Lai Lai dance floor run out the last 30 minutes before closing time when the shooter ambled in.
Tsay, whose family has run the Alhambra dance hall for generations, told CNN that he heard the “distinct sound of metal.”
“He was looking at me and looking around, not hiding that he was trying to do harm. His eyes were menacing,” Tsay recounted to the New York Times. “From his body language, his facial expression, his eyes, he was looking for people.”
For a fleeting moment, Tsay reportedly froze. He reckoned, “I’m going to die. This is it. This is the end for me.”
“But then something happened,” Tsay said. “Something came over me.”
The young man decided to rewrite his ending on the fly.
Tsay reportedly lunged toward the gunman in hopes of disarming him.
The battle over the modified pistol reportedly lasted for nearly a minute, but Tsay suggested it felt like “way longer.”
In newly released footage of the melee, Tsay can be seen grabbing the barrel of the weapon and then finally besting the gunman, despite catching repeated punches to the head and upper body:
After Tsay successfully disarmed Tran, the gunman allegedly returned to his van and shot himself with a different weapon.
The coward’s corpse was found 30 miles away on Sunday afternoon.
Tom Tsay, the hero’s father, told the Times, “He’s lucky, someone was watching over him.”
Sheriff Luna said during a press conference Monday, “I’d like to take a second to also thank Mr. Brandon Tsay for his heroic action, which saved countless lives. … He’s the hero who disarmed the suspect at the Alhambra location and in my opinion saved many lives.”
Luna emphasized, “What a brave man he is.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis similarly lauded the man for his bravery, saying, “Someone who put their life at stake and actually prevented more deaths from occurring is a hero in my books.”
Investigators are looking into whether the shootings may have been targeted, granted that Tran had reportedly made complaints to the Hemet Police Department on Jan. 7 and Jan. 9 that his family was poisoning and planning to steal from him.
The New York Times indicated that extra to being dance clubs, both locations entered by the gunman are frequented by middle-class immigrants from Asia.
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