The young coder credited with disarming the 72-year-old suspect in a mass shooting during Lunar New Year celebrations in California has described his “primal” battle with the gunman.
The man, identified by the New York Times as 26-year-old Brandon Tsay, was in the office of the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra on Saturday night watching dancers when he looked up to see the suspect pointing a gun at him.
“My heart sank, I knew I was going to die,” he told the newspaper.
“That moment, it was primal instinct,” he said. “Something happened there. I don’t know what came over me.”
He lunged at the man and grabbed the barrel of the gun, beginning the fight of his life.
Mr Tsay, whose grandparents founded the ballroom, did not know that the suspect, identified by police as Huu Can Tran, was believed to have killed 10 people and wounded 10 others just minutes earlier at another dance hall in nearby Monterey Park.
He said he had never seen a gun in real life — but that it was clear the gunman was there not to rob the place but to kill.
“From his body language, his facial expression, his eyes, he was looking for people,” Mr Tsay told the Times.
Mr Tsay and his family said that security footage showed the pair struggling for around 90 seconds before he was able to seize the gun from the suspect.
He immediately pointed it back at him and yelled “Go, get the hell out of here,” he told the newspaper.
The suspect fled. Hours later he was dead, shooting himself inside a white van in Torrance, several miles to the south, on Sunday afternoon as police moved to arrest him.
Five men and five women, all in their 50s or 60s, were killed by the gunman in Monterey Park on Saturday night.
Police have said the reason behind the attack, which came as Asian communities around the world celebrated the Lunar New Year holiday, remained a mystery.
They said they believe the gunman intended to carry out a similar massacre in Alhambra, and credited those who disarmed him with saving lives.
Los Angeles County sheriff Robert Luna has said two people disarmed the suspect in Alhambra — but Mr Tsay and his family, who still run the ballroom, say the video footage shows he alone grappled with the killer.
Mr Tsay’s older sister Brenda, who runs the business, said the footage showed the gunman’s fierce struggle to keep control of his weapon.
“He kept coming at him,” she told the Times. “He really wanted the gun back.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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