Brandon Tsay honored at Lunar New Year Festival for disarming Monterey Park, California gunman

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Brandon Tsay, the dance studio manager who bravely disarmed the Monterey Park gunman before he could take more lives, was awarded the Medal of Courage at Alhambra’s Lunar New Year festival Sunday.

“This year started off as extremely difficult,” Tsay told the crowd. “But we’ve got the rest of the year to spread compassion and build back our community.”

Tsay, whose family owns the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, was seen on surveillance video wrestling a gun away from Huu Can Tran a short time after authorities say Tran had shot 20 people, 11 of them fatally, at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in nearby Monterey Park last Saturday.

Tran fled in a white van and later took his own life when he was surrounded by police in Torrance.

Authorities are still not sure why Tran targeted both dance studios. 

Alhambra’s Lunar New Year Festival, which included traditional dance and musical performances, vendors, and games, provided a welcomed opportunity for both communities to begin to move forward.

Brandon Tsay honored
Brandon Tsay received Alhambra’s Medal of Courage for disarming the Monterey Park gunman. Jan. 29, 2023.

“I believe the people of Monterey Park are strong and I believe we can mend and grow from this tragedy,” Tsay said.

“This is a moment of healing for this community,” John Bwarie, CEO of the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce, told KTLA. “The beginning of a healing process that might take weeks, months, years, and we wanted to be part of that.”

Sunday’s festival also included a remembrance ceremony for the 11 people who died in the mass shooting.

Brandon Tsay
Brandon Tsay wrestles with the Monterey Park gunman inside the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, California. Jan. 21, 2023.

“The new year is about rebirth and renewal, so this is an opportunity to bring this community together at a time of real tragedy and come together and say we are a strong community, a resilient community. We can move forward but only if we work together and come together,” Bwarie said.

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