Rafu Wire and Staff Reports
ALHAMBRA — Brandon Tsay, who prevented the Monterey Park gunman from committing a similar massacre in Alhambra, was recognized Jan. 29 at that city’s Lunar New Year celebration.
Tsay, 26, received a medal of courage from the Alhambra Police Department and other honors during a ceremony on the festival’s main stage. Mayor Adele Andrade-Stadler and other city officials participated in the ceremony.
On the night of Jan. 21, Huu Can Tran, 72, opened fire at the Star Ballroom in Monterey Park, killing 11 and wounding nine. Less than 20 minutes later, he showed up at the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in Alhambra, which is operated by Tsay’s family.
Tsay, who was unaware of the Monterey Park attack, confronted the gunman and wrestled away his weapon in a struggle captured on surveillance video. Tsay pointed the gun at Tran and ordered him to leave. Tran fled in his van and was later found in Torrance, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive remains a mystery.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Tsay said he knew he was risking his life, but “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.”
“A lot of people have been telling me how much courage I had to confront a situation like this,” he told ABC. “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. 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.”
Tsay has been hailed as a hero by government officials, including President Joe Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), who personally thanked Tsay at the festival, said, “One week ago a gunman walked into Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park and killed 11 people. My heart goes out to those families. But in the face of fear and tragedy, there was a remarkable story of bravery and heroism that lifted all of us up.
“My heart dropped when I watched the video of Brandon Tsay leaping into action to stop the gunman. And when you hear him tell the story, he is so humble about what happened, but one thing is clear, he took action because he wanted to save the lives of the people at the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra.
“The courage that he displayed in that moment was absolutely incredible. Thank you, Brandon, for being our hero.”
Chu invited Tsay to attend Biden’s next State of the Union address as her guest, but she said that he later received an invitation from the president himself.
Monterey Park canceled its Lunar New Year festival the day after the shootings, but Alhambra decided to hold its weekend celebration, which included entertainment, food, merchants, and family activities. There was also a ceremony to honor the Monterey Park victims.
“Creating community is an important goal under any circumstance,” John Bwarie, CEO of the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement prior to the event. “Now we find that the ties between us matter most, because we can face this tragedy together and rise above it. We invite everyone in Southern California to celebrate the new year with us in Alhambra and show our strength and faith in the future.”