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Monterey Park Gunman Disarmed in Heroic Act at Alhambra Dance Studio

A confrontation in the lobby of a second San Gabriel Valley dance hall minutes after the Monterey Park shooting that left 10 dead and 10 injured likely prevented another tragedy.

The gunman who opened fire at Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park entered the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in nearby Alhambra about 20 minutes later, just as the family run business was about the close down for the night. Once inside, the shooter was confronted and disarmed by at least one person in a heroic act, authorities said Sunday.

The New York Times spoke to Brandon Tsay, who said he wrestled the firearm from the 72-year-old gunman’s hands when the man walked into the lobby.

“He was looking at me and looking around, not hiding that he was trying to do harm,” Tsay told the New York Times. “His eyes were menacing.”

Tsay told the Times he did not recognize the man.

Tsay and family members left the studio Monday morning. He told NBCLA he is feeling ok, but tired after assisting police with the investigation since Sunday morning.

The Tsays opened the ballroom and studio three decades ago.

“It’s older than both me and my brother,” said sister Branda Tsay. “This is a family business. All the customers have supported us throughout the years, so knowing some of them are gone — it hurts”

Star Dance studio in Monterey Park and Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra share many of the same patrons.

““We go both places, right?  Sometimes we go here, sometimes we go there,” Lucy Pao, a patron of the Lai Lai studio, said.

Pao and her husband are among those who frequent Lai Lai. 

“Many retired people come here for a weekend afternoon dance lesson and they have teachers from all over the world. Normally, Saturday night, there was no party here, but Star Dance does have a party.” 

On Saturday, Lai Lai was celebrating its 29th anniversary, according to their Facebook page highlighting their many events. 

A still image of the alleged gunman that was distributed by authorities during the search was taken at the entry of the Lai Lai studio. 

“I can tell you the suspect walked in there probably with the intent to kill but two community members took action and disarmed him,” LA County Sheriff Robert Luna said. 

Witnesses at the Lai Lai provided a description of a van seen leaving the scene. The shooter, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Sunday in the van in a Torrance strip mall parking lot.

The mayor of Monterey Park said Tran may have frequented the dance hall he attacked.

The massacre was the nation’s fifth mass killing this month — and it struck one of California’s largest celebrations of a holiday observed in many Asian cultures, dealing another blow to a community that has been the target of high-profile violence in recent years.

It was also the deadliest attack since May 24, when 21 people were killed in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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