MONTEREY PARK, Calif. – Stunning surveillance video has emerged showing the heroic efforts of a dance hall worker who disarmed the Monterey Park killer in the nearby city of Alhambra about 20 minutes after his rampage.
The death toll has risen to 11 in the Saturday night attack at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. About 20 minutes after the initial attack, the killer strode into the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in Alhambra, armed with a magazine-fed, semiautomatic assault pistol
Video obtained by CNN shows the killer entering a small room at the Lai Lai. Brandon Tsay, 26, whose family runs the dance hall, is then seen walking toward the gunman, arms outstretched, and moves quickly toward the killer, pushing him out the doorway and into a lobby area.
“I’m going to die. This is it. This is the end for me,” Tsay recalled thinking when he first saw the gunman. “But then something happened. Something came over me.”
Video from a camera in the room the men then enter shows Tsay ripping the gun from the gunman’s hands. That video, obtained by NBC News, shows the gunman continuing to wrestle Tsay, punching him and grabbing a water bottle and hitting Tsay with it.
“I threatened him that I would shoot,” Tsay told CNN. “I thought I would have to kill him, that I would have to shoot a person.”
But the killer walked out the door. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound the next day.
Vice President Harris to visit California in wake of mass killings
Vice President Kamala Harris will visit California in the aftermath of two mass killings in three days that left 18 people dead and renewed the president’s push for gun control.
“Our hearts are with the people of California,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday.
Seven people died Tuesday in two shootings near the Northern California community of Half Moon Bay, just days after a rampage in Southern California killed 11.
Biden said he’s spoken to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and local leaders and pledged the federal government’s support.
His remarks came before meeting with Democratic congressional leaders at the White House, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
The president pointed to new legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, to ban assault weapons, urging them to “send that to my desk as quickly as you can.” The bill faces a tough climb in the Senate and is not expected to pass in the Republican-led House.
— Joey Garrison
Police draw scrutiny for taking 5 hours to alert public of threat
Authorities were pressed to explain why it took five hours after Saturday’s carnage to alert the public that the killer was on the loose. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Monday that his department was “strategic” in its decision to release information but that he would review what happened. The shooting took place late Saturday night, and the department reported several hours later that the unknown assailant was at large.
At 2:49 a.m., more than four hours after the initial 911 calls, the Sheriff’s Information Bureau issued a news advisory confirming fatalities and that the suspect was male, but there was no mention of the status of the investigation. Shortly after 3:30 a.m., more than five hours after the shooting, Capt. Andrew Meyer held a briefing and said the death toll was 10 and that “the suspect fled the scene and remains outstanding.”
Luna defends information timeline
“When we started putting out public information, the priority was to get this person into custody,” Luna said. “Ultimately it worked. We will go back and look at it as we always do. Nobody is as critical as ourselves as to what worked and specifically what didn’t work.”
Brian Higgins, an adjunct professor at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former police chief in Bergen County, New Jersey, told The Associated Press that an alert should have gone out right away.
“What took so long?” Higgins said. “Maybe they didn’t have a good handle on what they had. But if they didn’t know, they should have erred on the side of caution and put this out.”
MONTEREY PARK REELS:City that is a safe haven for Asian communities is shattered by mass shooting
Shock, relief 2 days after tragedy
Thomas Wong, a longtime Monterey Park council member, said he is navigating bouts of shock and relief. The shock comes from knowing that his hometown suffered the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since a deadly school attack in Uvalde, Texas, in May. The relief comes from knowing the suspected killer in Monterey Park can no longer hurt anyone.
“We see (mass shootings) proliferate in other parts of the country, but you never expect it to happen in your own backyard,” Wong said Monday in between consoling fellow residents. “To start off the year like this is an unimaginable tragedy.” Read more here.
– Terry Collins, Tami Abdollah and Alia Wong
Wounded patient dies two days after shooting
One of the four people being treated at the LA County-USC Medical Center died Monday of gunshot wounds, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services said Monday. A department news release said another of the wounded patients was in serious condition and the other two were recovering.
Authorities said the initial death count from Saturday night’s attack at a dance studio was 10, and at least 10 were injured. The body of the shooter was later found in a van parked about 30 miles away in Torrance.
All 11 Monterey Park victims identified
After notifying relatives, the authorities released Tuesday the complete list of the 11 people killed in the dance hall shooting, who ranged in age from 57 to 76.
The six women who perished were: My Nhan, 65; Lilian Li, 63; Xiujuan Yu, 57; Muoi Ung, 67; Hong Jian, 62; and Diana Tom, 70.
The five men were: Yu Kao, 72; Chia Yau, 76; Valentino Alvero, 68; Wen Yu, 64; and Ming Ma, 72.
Luna said the gunman fired 42 shots at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, which is popular with older Asian Americans. In addition to those killed, nine were wounded. After leaving the carnage, the killer drove to the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in nearby Alhambra, where a likely attack was thwarted by a worker, Luna said.
Timeline from first 911 call to discovery of killer’s body
At 10:22 p.m. local time Saturday, police received 911 calls about an active shooter at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Garvey Street, the main drag in Monterey Park Police arrived within three minutes and found chaos as patrons fled the studio. They discovered dead and wounded people inside.
At 12:52 p.m. Sunday, the county sheriff’s SWAT team cleared the van. They found “the suspect sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene,” Luna said.
A timeline from the first call to that announcement is here.
Authorities search for a motive
Authorities continued searching for clues about gunman Huu Can Tran’s motive, which remained unclear. “We all want answers to questions that we may never have answers to,” Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said. “That’s kind of the enigma of this.”
Luna acknowledged reports that Tran acted out of jealousy but said he could not confirm them. Tran is believed to have offered dance lessons and met his now ex-wife at the Star studio.
Contributing: Orlando Mayorquin and Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY; The Associated Press