A 26-year-old coder who was taking a turn watching the front door of his family’s dance studio had no idea what was coming as the Lunar New Year celebration was coming to an end Saturday night at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alahambra, California.
Then Brandon Tsay heard metal hitting metal and turned to see a man holding a pistol, according to The New York Times.
“He was looking at me and looking around, not hiding that he was trying to do harm. His eyes were menacing,” Tsay said on Sunday.
The gun was a signal that this was not a robbery.
“How it was built and customized, I knew it wasn’t for robbing money. From his body language, his facial expression, his eyes, he was looking for people.”
Tsay began to wrestle the gunman for control of the weapon.
“That moment, it was primal instinct. Something happened there. I don’t know what came over me,” he said.
Tsay explained to ABC that his signal to act was when the man “started prepping the weapon.”
“Something came over me. 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. 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,” he said.
Tsay said he eventually gained possession of the weapon, pushed the man away and pointed the gun at him, yelling, “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 away. 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.”
EXCLUSIVE: “I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him, disarm him, or else everyone else would have died.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 23, 2023
Tsay did not know at the time that the man, later identified as Huu Can Tran, was the suspect in a shooting at nearby Monterey Park in which 10 people were killed and 10 others were wounded.
“I was shaking all night. I couldn’t believe what happened,” Tsay told ABC.
“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,” he said.
“In crises like this, the people need courage, especially the victims, their friends, their families. 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,” he said.
Tran was later tracked down by police but shot himself as his white van was being surrounded.
“We still are not clear on the motive,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“The investigation continues … We want to know how something this awful can happen,” Luna said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.