The hero bystander who tackled Monterey Park shooter Huu Can Tran after he killed 10 people and injured 10 others on Saturday night during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations at Star Ballroom Dance Studio has been identified as Brandon Tsay. The 26-year-old hero spoke out about the horror on Monday morning and how he took down the gunman.
Dramatic photos have also emerged that show Tsay tackling Tran, 72, at the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in Alhambra minutes after he killed 10 people at the nearby Star Ballroom Dance Studio. Tsay is being helmed as a hero as police said that the carnage could have been worse had Tran not been tackled by the two bystanders.
As the evening came to a close at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, California, on Saturday after the Chinese Lunar Near Year celebration, Tsay heard the front door close behind him. It was 10:40 pm and Tran stormed the dance studio with an unlicensed semi-automatic weapon.
Tsay is a computer coder and the Lai Lai is owned by his family. On Saturday, when dozens had gathered in the ballroom for a Lunar New Year party, he joined in and was lending a hand.
Tran has already shot dead 10 people at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio by that time and had come to Lai Lie to carry out another rampage as he was looking for more victims.
Although police are yet to share a motive behind the massacre, a police source told LA Mag: "There is increasing evidence this was domestic violence." It is believed that the shooter was looking for his wife and planned to shoot her.
Tsay recalled the moment in an interview with Good Morning America on Monday when he realized the shooter had arrived with the intention of killing people.
"It was Chinese New Year's, we were hosting a social dance party. I was in the lobby and it was late into the evening. Most of our customers already left, I was looking into the dance ballroom," Tsay said.
"This is when I heard the sound of the front door creaking, instantly followed by the sound of metal objects rubbing together. I turned around and saw there was an Asian man holding a gun. My first thought was an Asian man holding a gun.
"My first thought was, I was going to die here. This is it."
In another interview with the New York Times, Tsay said that attacking Tran was "primal instinct" and that her eyes were "menacing."
Tsay said that he had never seen Tran earlier.
Tsay claimed Tran was looking around the room for potential targets when he realized the gunman was there to carry out a mass shooting.
"I could tell he was not here to rob us, he wasn't looking for money. He was looking around the room. It seemed like he was looking for targets, people to harm. Something came over me - I realized I needed to take this weapon, disarm him, or else everybody would have died," he told the outlet.
"When I got the courage, I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon an we struggled into the lobby, trying to get this gun away from each other. He was hitting me across the face and bashing my head.
"I was trying to create some distance. Finally, at one point, I was able to pull the gun away from him, shove him aside and create some distance. I was able to get the gun and point it at him, intimidate him, shout: "Get the hell away from here! I'll shoot! Get away!"
"At this point, I thought he would run away. He was contemplating whether to fight or run away. I really thought I'd have to shoot him. This is when he turned around and walked out the door, and walked back to his van.
"I immediately called the police, with the gun still in my hand. I couldn't believe what happened," Tsay added.
Deadly Attack but Left Dead
Tran killed himself following a standoff with cops after he fled Lai Lai after being tackled by Tsay. In between running from Lai Lai and reaching his vehicle, Tran was seen at a hospital requesting medical attention shortly before the standoff, according to law enforcement sources.
Tran went to the ER for treatment of wounds that were consistent with having been involved in a fight. He waited a short while before leaving without receiving care. The hospital alerted the authorities when the patient fit the suspect's description posted on the sheriff's department's Twitter page,
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said that Tran's motive is still unclear.
This comes as it was revealed that Tran is a Chinese immigrant. People who knew Tran and recalled him as being hostile to his students also described him to CNN as being easily irritated, complaining a lot, and not seeming to trust people.
Tran was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to his head in a white van he used during the mass shooting. Reports claim that all the victims were Asians.
Sources told CNN that Tran used to be a "regular patron" at the dance hall. It is believed that the elderly were mostly the patrons of the dance club, as most of his victims were Asians and above 50 years of age.
Tran was previously profiled on a wanted poster by Luna's office, which showed him with spectacles, a leather jacket, a dark winter beanie with a white design, and other clothing.
Around 10:20 am, police in Torrance, California, spotted a white van that matched the suspect vehicle description. They then followed the van into a parking lot of a mall and stopped the vehicle which resulted in a standoff. A few minutes later, a single gunshot could be heard coming from inside the van.
The local police officers dispersed and requested the assistance of tactical squads. Armored tanks and a bomb squad surrounded the van before noon local time, sparking a standoff that lasted for more than an hour.
A SWAT squad unlocked the car's passenger door and subsequently its side doors just before noon local time. Photos showed a man slumped over in the driver's seat, whom investigators confirmed was the shooting suspect, according to Luna.
Police also confirmed that Tran was the only suspect in the shooting.