Surveillance footage captured the terrifying moment a heroic 26-year-old bravely snatched a gun from a Monterey Park mass shooting suspect as he attempted a second attack at another ballroom in California.
Video captured by a security camera shows two men fighting each other at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in the Alhambra.
One of the men is Huu Can Tran, a 72-year-old wanted gunman who shot and killed 10 victims in another ballroom in nearby Monterey Park minutes earlier.
He is seen wearing a black leather jacket and a patterned beanie – the same clothes he is wearing in the surveillance video released to the public during the 12-hour manhunt for the mass murderer.
The second man has now been identified as Brandon Tsay, a 26-year-old programmer whose family runs the Lai Lai club and who is now being hailed as a hero for stopping the accused shooter.
Mr. Tsay managed to snatch the semi-automatic assault pistol from Tran, who then fled the scene – no one in the other studio was injured.
The 26-year-old told New York Times that the incident took place in Lai Lai just before closing time when there were still only three people on the dance floor.
He said he was in the office next to the lobby watching the ballroom when he heard the front door close and a sound that sounded like metal hitting metal.
He said at that point he turned around and saw the suspect pointing a gun at him.
Mr Tsay described the suspect as “menacing”, saying: “He was looking at me and looking around, making no secret of the fact that he was trying to cause harm.” The two men got into a fight before the 26-year-old managed to disarm the gunman.
The Lai Lai Ballroom incident happened about 20 minutes after a gunman entered the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park around 10:22 p.m. Saturday night, where he opened fire on a crowd of customers.
The horror attack that took place in most of the Asian-American community came not long after thousands of people gathered in the area to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Ten people were killed in the attack and another 10 were injured but survived and were taken to hospital for treatment.
After moving to the Lai Lai club – where he was kept by customers – he started running away and a huge manhunt was launched to track him down.
It culminated about 12 hours later in a police standoff in Torrance, about 30 miles from Monterey Park.
Witnesses to the Alhambra incident reported seeing a white van at the scene, and officers spotted Tran driving the van in Torrance on Sunday morning.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told a Sunday news conference that as police approached, Tran drove into the parking lot and shot himself.
“As officers exited the patrol vehicle to contact the passenger, they heard one shot coming from inside the van,” the sheriff said.
SWAT teams surrounded the vehicle before approaching the van and found Tran dead inside from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he said.
Evidence found in the vehicle – including a handgun – allegedly links the 72-year-old to the shooting.
Authorities believe Tran acted alone and is not looking for anyone else in connection with the mass shooting.
The motive for the massacre remains unclear. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the May 2022 Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 21 young students and teachers.
However, friends revealed that Tran was a regular at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio and once complained about instructors saying “bad things” about him.
It was also revealed that he met his ex-wife in the studio.
One friend who knew Tran in the late 2000s and early 2010s when the two were in the studio said Tran was “hostile to a lot of people” at the club.
A friend who did not want to be named told CNN that the suspect often complained to him that he felt the dance instructors disliked him and said “bad things” about him.
At the time, Tran lived about a five-minute drive from the club and visited it almost every night, he said.
He said the two friends had not seen each other for years prior to Saturday’s shooting.
Now he said he was “completely shocked” to learn that he was allegedly responsible for the mass shooting as he expressed concerns that some of his friends might be among the victims.
“I know a lot of people, and if they go to the Star studios, they’re there a lot,” he said.
Tran’s ex-wife, who also declined to be named, told CNN that they first met at the Star Ballroom about two decades ago.
At the time, Tran was teaching informal dance lessons at the club and offered her free lessons, she said.
Soon after, the couple got married.
Tran’s ex-wife said the accused mass shooter was never physically abusive to her, but had a short-tempered temper, especially when she missed a step while dancing with him.
She told the network that she felt Tran had lost interest in her by then and filed for divorce in 2005.
It is unclear if Tran was still attending the dance studio in the run-up to the mass shooting.
Investigators are now examining Tran’s criminal and mental history for clues to what led to Saturday’s massacre.
The identities of the 10 victims killed in the attack have yet to be released by authorities, but friends have identified the first victim as the owner of the ballroom.
Ming Wei Ma, a studio owner and dance instructor, heroically ran towards the gunman in an attempt to stop the massacre, a friend saidCBS Los Angeles.
“According to the chat, he was the first to pounce on the shooter,” Eric Chen said, adding that it was typical of Ma’s selfless nature.
“He was just caring, and others were human first and foremost.”
Mr. Chen added that it was “painful and unthinkable for this to happen.”