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Man who disarmed Monterey Park shooter speaks out: 'Something came over me'

The night was winding down after a Lunar Near Year celebration at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, California, on Saturday, when Brandon Tsay heard the front door click close behind him.

"That's when I turned around and saw that there was an Asian man holding a gun. My first thought was I was going to die here, this is it," Tsay, 26, told ABC News' Robin Roberts during an interview Monday on "Good Morning America."

Tsay, who helps run the dance hall with his family, said the gunman was "looking around the room" as if he was "looking for targets -- people to harm."

"He started prepping the weapon and something came over me," Tsay recalled. "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."

"When I got the courage, I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon and we had a struggle," he added. "We struggled into the lobby, trying to get this gun away from each other. He was hitting me across the face, bashing the back of my head."

Tsay said he used his elbows to separate the gun from the suspect during the struggle until, finally, he was able to pull the weapon away and shove the man aside. Tsay said he then pointed the gun at the suspect and shouted: "Get the hell out of here! I'll shoot! Get away! Go!"

"I thought he would run away, but he was just standing there contemplating whether to fight or to run," Tsay recalled. "I really thought I would have to shoot him and he came at me. This is when he turned around and walked out the door, jogged back to his van. I immediately called police with the gun still in my hand."

Tsay did not know it at the time but would later learn that this same man -- identified by authorities as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran -- had allegedly opened fire at another dance studio in nearby Monterey Park about 20 minutes earlier, killing at least 10 people and wounding 10 others.

The mass shooting at Star Dance Studio in a predominately Asian community of Monterey Park occurred just after 10:20 p.m. local time on Saturday night, during what should have been the most festive day of the year for those of Asian descent. Tran allegedly fled the scene in a white van and drove to Alhambra, where he entered the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio before being disarmed, according to authorities.

On Sunday, after a daylong manhunt, police located Tran's vehicle along a road in Torrance, about 30 miles southwest of Monterey Park. As police pulled behind the van in a marked patrol car, the vehicle entered a shopping center parking lot. When officers exited their patrol car to approach the van, they heard one gunshot coming from inside the vehicle. The officers found Tran dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the van, which had a stolen license plate, according to authorities.

The Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio's surveillance cameras captured the struggle between Tran and Tsay. Tsay told ABC News that he has bruising all over his body from the incident, including across his nose and the back of his head.

"I was shaking all night. I couldn't believe what happened," he said. "A lot of people have been telling me how much courage I had to confront a situation like this. But you know what courage is? Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to have adversity to fear when fearful events happen such as this."

"In crises like this, the people need courage, especially the victims, their friends, their families," he added. "My heart goes out to everybody involved, especially the people in Star Dance Studio and Monterey Park. I hope they can find the courage and the strength to persevere."

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by Anonymousreply 6January 23, 2023 10:58 PM


We need more people like Brandon in this world.

by Anonymousreply 1January 23, 2023 5:14 PM

That interview made me really emotional.

Poor guy seemed shell shocked, but still he was so composed.

by Anonymousreply 2January 23, 2023 5:31 PM

Right wing radio queen John Reid seems to have all the answers...

"If you’re truly upset about mass shootings and just can’t believe they keep happening, I have some REALLY bad news for you:

For 30 years our society actively and proudly rejected all the warnings from the “crazy, overzealous and uptight” old religious people who pleaded for temperance and restraint and warned that we were making bad policy and cultural choices that were ruining the strong family unit with a disciplinarian working respected father at the head- which, like it or not- is usually the arrangement that stops bad things from happening.

Strong morally grounded masculine men paired with moral wives/mothers who want to protect their homes and families usually stop the worst from happening in families and in neighborhoods. They still do in most other parts of the world.

Even Democrat Al Gore and his wife were rejected in the 80s and 90s when they said we probably shouldn’t be sooo casual about violence and vulgarity in music and entertainment.

So here we are…. Three and a half decades later.

We’ve created a society where instead of one in 10 million people freaking out and slaughtering their neighbors when they’re angry or upset or mentally disturbed, we have an increased number of people who are morally bankrupt and mentally unstable and no strong family to help fix them or reign them in.

The disconnection is real and so is the inability to see right and wrong- until the bullets start flying in a crowd.

I hate to tell you… the short term partial solution here is to be rapidly hyper aggressive and publicly brutal in punishing those who commit violent crime.

Not just to penalize the individual criminal but to send a message, that parents and neighbors used to send in other ways, that we won’t tolerate obvious deviancy, crime and ultimately violence.

That’s gonna be hard for a culture that has gone weak and soft on the most basic standards of public decorum and has been raised to believe - mistakenly- that truth doesn’t exist and feelings are paramount and everyone is redeemable (as long as some agency or rehab center collects tax or insurance money to do the work to fix the problem).

You can wait another decade to get tough if you want…. But the continued savagery in that time will be awful and the spread of the cultural decay will make the eventual solution even worse.

If you want to save our society and our people and our children you’re going to have to reform the culture and be brutally tough on the morally blank, mentally sick and now physically dangerous people we so stupidly and recklessly created.

Stop getting upset at the shooting and get upset when a kid back talks or slaps a teacher or cop.

Stop putting teddy bears at makeshift memorials and spend an extra hour a day instructing your own children in right and wrong and FIRMLY correcting even the smallest sign of bad behavior.

No more crying over the deaths of strangers. Cry over the death of your own family and fight to fix it before you send mal-adjusted warped kids into the world.

I know as an unmarried non-parent gay guy I’m vulnerable to being trashed and dismissed for saying all of this…. But… I’ve been observing from my perch in what once was cultural leperdom and I think I see very clearly what’s been happening and my life experiences tell me what has to happen to fix it.

Even if you reject my analysis- you better start thinking of how to truly change course in the ways we mold people in this culture.

Because it’s not “the guns” that have created the mentally ill and savage.

It’s us."

by Anonymousreply 3January 23, 2023 9:36 PM

Is he worthy of a hero’s blowjob?

C’mon, one of you guys step up to the plate.

by Anonymousreply 4January 23, 2023 10:00 PM

An Asian Where’s Waldo.

by Anonymousreply 5January 23, 2023 10:15 PM

I wish that Robin Roberts would have just let him talk!

He was telling such an interesting story, but she kept interrupting.

by Anonymousreply 6January 23, 2023 10:58 PM
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