A man police hailed as a hero said he prevented the Monterey Park gunman from carrying out a second shooting at a nearby dance club by wresting away his weapon.
Brandon Tsay, whose family owns Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday that he lunged at the man after seeing him walk into the venue with a gun looking for people to shoot. He said he didn’t know at the time about the earlier attack in Monterey Park, where 10 people were killed and 10 others wounded.
“He started prepping the weapon and something came over me,” Tsay, 26, told ABC’s Robin Roberts. “I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him. I needed to take this weapon, disarm him or else everybody would have died.”
Police later identified the shooter as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran and said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot as officers approached his parked van later.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said two people he described as “heroes” acted to disarm the gunman. Tsay’s family, however, told The New York Times that security footage from their club shows their son acted alone.
Luna said the incident at Lai Lai happened “within 20 to 30 minutes” of the Monterey Park shooting.
Tsay said the business hosted a social dance party for Lunar New Year, but most attendees had left by the time he heard the sound of the door closing and turned to see a man he didn’t know holding a gun.
His first thought, he said, was “I was going to do die here. This is it.” The gunman, he said, was scanning the room for people, not money or something to steal.
Tsay said he decided to make his move and lunged at the gunman. But Tran wouldn’t let go of his weapon and repeatedly hit Tsay during the struggle.
Finally, Tray said he wrested away the gun and threatened to shoot the intruder if he didn’t immediately leave.
“He was just standing there, contemplating whether to fight or to run away,” Tsay said. Finally, the man left and drove away in his van.
Police later found him dead inside the vehicle in a parking lot in Torrance. Investigators said they don’t know his motive.
Seven of the people wounded at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park remain hospitalized.
The massacre is the country’s deadliest attack since 19 students and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in May.