Video Shows Exact Moment Monterey Park Gunman Is Disarmed
By Jason Hall
January 24, 2023
A video obtained and shared by NBC News shows the exact moment in which the Monterey Park shooter was disarmed at a second location.
The footage shows Brandon Tsay, 26, wrestling what was described as a "semi-automatic assault pistol" out of the gunman's possession in what appears to be an empty lobby in Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio, located about two miles from Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where the fatal shooting took place.
The gunman, later identified as Huu Can Tran, 72, is then seen punching Tsay's head while he holds the weapon before being pushed off. The man continues to reach for the gun before giving up and exiting the room.
“There was a moment I actually froze up, because I was, I had the belief that I was gonna die, like my life was ending here, at that very moment,” Tsay told NBC News’ Lester Holt. “But something amazing happened, a miracle actually. He started to try to prep his weapon so he could shoot everybody, but then it dawned on me that this was the moment to disarm him. I could do something here that could protect everybody and potentially save myself.”
Tsay said Tran entered the building with the intent of committing more violence.
“When he came in, he said nothing,” Tran told NBC News. “His face was very stoic. His expressions were mostly in his eyes — looking around trying to find people, trying to scout the area for other people.”
Eleven people were killed and at least 10 more were injured during the shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, which was holding a Lunar New Year celebration in the majority-Asian community, on Saturday (January 21) night. Tran may have previously visited visited the Monterey dance hall where the incident took place, according to Mayor Henry Lo.
"We do understand that he may have had history of visiting this dance hall," Lo told the TODAY Show Monday (January 23) morning.
Tran died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being located by authorities during a manhunt, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced on Sunday (January 22) via NBC News.
Investigators were probing the background of Tran in an effort to confirm a motive and recovered "several pieces of evidence" linking the 72-year-old both to the Monterey Park scene and the neighboring city of Alhambra, according to Luna. The Star Ballroom Dance studio announced it had temporarily closed in the wake of the shooting in a statement shared on its Facebook page.
"What should have been a festive night to welcome the first day of the Lunar New Year turned into a tragedy," the statement read. "Our heart goes out to all the victims, survivors, and their families. In this time of healing, we hope that all those who were affected have the space to grieve and process what transpired within the last 24 hours," the statement read.