'Life is fragile': Brandon Tsay honored in Alhambra, reflects on heroism during shooting

Alhambra celebrated the Lunar New Year on Sunday, with its 29th Annual Lunar New Year Festival. The celebration was expected to bring out 20,000-30,000 visitors, but one stood apart from the crowd. Brandon Tsay

Tsay was the guest of honor at the celebration in Alhambra Sunday. As he stepped up to the podium of a large entertainment tent, Tsay said, "The situation still feels so surreal to me." 

Tsay's family owns a dance studio is in this community. It's where he stopped accused gunman Huu Can Tran from firing any more bullets after shooting 20 people in nearby Monterey Park.

"I realized that life is fragile," he said. "Most of the victims I knew personally. They’d always come by the dance studio and I considered them friends. They were some of the most caring people I have ever met. And, for them to be taken from us is such an excruciating experience."

Eleven people died in the shooting that night.


Ahead of Sunday's Lunar New Year Festival, Alhambra Chamber of Commerce CEO John Bwarie wasn’t sure whether the community would feel comfortable with such a public event. 

"We didn’t know if it was going to be subdued; people have come out. They want to be a part of this," Bwarie said.

There was some hesitation; the thoughts of last weekend’s violence still very much on people's minds. But, the new year is a chance for renewal and restarting. 

That's what Tsay said he wants that for the victims' families. 

"I wish for all of the victims' families to be able to heal," Tsay said. "I pray for them to be able to find joy again."

On the stage, one politician after another handed Brandon a certificate while offering words of appreciation for his braver — for his strength in subduing the suspect who authorities say later killed himself.

About an hour before this Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said he asked Tsay "Are you interested in being a deputy sheriff for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department? And he said ‘I never thought about that!'"

Congresswoman Judy Chu said she invited Tsay to be her guest at the upcoming State of the Union. She said she was beat out by President Joe Biden who asked him to be his guest.