Monterey Park shooting: Man who disarmed suspected gunman says he acted on instinct

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. — A man being hailed as a hero after wresting a gun away from the man suspected of killing 10 people and injuring 10 more in a shooting following Lunar New Year celebrations on Saturday told reporters that he acted on “primal instinct.”

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“Something happened there,” Brandon Tsay told The New York Times. “I don’t know what came over me.”

On Sunday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Huu Can Tran, 72, opened fire at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, according to The Associated Press. About 20 minutes later, Tsay was in the lobby of his family’s Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in nearby Alhambra as it neared closing time, the Times and “Good Morning America” reported.

Tsay told “Good Morning America” that he heard the front door open and what sounded like metal brushing against metal. He said that when he turned around, he saw Tran holding a gun.

“My first thought was, I was going to die here,” he said. “This was it.”

Tran didn’t appear to have walked into the business to rob it, Tsay told “Good Morning America.”

“When he was looking around the room, it seemed like he was looking for targets — people to harm,” he said. “This is when he started prepping the weapon and something came over me. I realized that I needed to get the weapon away from him. I needed to take this weapon, disarm him, or else everybody would have died.”

On Sunday, Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters that “two community members” were heroes after they disarmed Tran in Alhambra.

“This could have been much worse,” he said at a news conference.

After reviewing security footage of the incident, Tsay and his family members told the Times that the 26-year-old was the only person who grappled with Tran on Saturday.

“It was just my son. He could have died,” Brandon Tsay’s father, Tom Tsay, told the newspaper. “He’s lucky, someone was watching over him.”

The struggle for the gun lasted for about a minute and a half, according to the Times.

“(Tran) was hitting me across the face, bashing the back of my head,” Brandon Tsay said on “Good Morning America.”

“I was trying to use my elbows to separate the gun away from him, create some distance.”

He said he managed to get control of the gun and pointed it back at Tran before yelling for him to get out. Tran soon left, and Tsay said he called police with the gun still in his hand.

Authorities said five men and five women in their 50s, 60s and 70s died on Saturday after Tran opened fire, marking the deadliest mass shooting since a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, according to the AP. Deputies confirmed Sunday that Tran later died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound as officers closed in on him.

The motive behind the shooting remained unclear on Monday.

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