Lunar New Year massacre: Brandon Tsay, 'Hero' civilian, disarmed gunman at Alhambra dancehall, Sheriff says

The mass shooting that left 11 dead amid Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park could have been "much worse" if it hadn't been for the actions of a civilian who disarmed the gunman, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, at a scene in Alhambra, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Sunday evening. 

Eleven people were killed, and another 10 people were hospitalized after Tran opened fire at a ballroom in Monterey Park Saturday night. The shooting happened just before 10:30 p.m. that night at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in the 100 block of Garvey Avenue. 

Officials said 20 to 30 minutes later, Tran entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra with a gun. There, Luna initially said at a Sunday press conference Tran "was disarmed by two community members who I consider to be heroes because they saved lives. This could have been much worse."

On a new press conference Monday evening, Luna corrected himself saying Brandon Tsay was the sole community member credited with stopping the suspected gunman.


The LA County Sheriff took a moment Monday to recognize Tsay for his heroic actions.

"He's the hero that disarmed the suspect at the Alhambra location and, in my opinion, saved many of lives," Luna said of Tsay. "Originally, we put out that there were two people. We find out ultimately, as we normally do, as these things get investigated. There was only actually one person who disarmed them. But as you know, we're trying to put out information… and that's his name – and what a brave man he is."

Investigators were able to recover a gun from the Alhambra dance hall. Luna described the weapon as a "magazine-fed, semi-automatic assault pistol."

Tran was able to escape after the attempted shooting in Alhambra. Sunday morning, officials in Torrance found a white van that matched the description of the suspect's vehicle near Sepulveda and Hawthorne boulevards. The driver then pulled into a shopping mall parking lot and a SWAT team was called to the scene. Luna said that just before 1 p.m., officers approached the vehicle and found Tran, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside. Another handgun was recovered in the van.

The Lai Lai dance hall was celebrating its 29th anniversary Saturday night, as Asian communities were celebrating the Lunar New Year. In the wake of the attack, the ballroom closed Sunday and has indefinitely suspended the venue's tea and night dances. The facility said it will reopen to lessons only starting Monday.

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