A man who encountered the suspect at an Alhambra ballroom just minutes from the site of the massacre said he knew immediately the armed man was dangerous.
“He looked at me, looked around, and made no attempt to hide that he wanted to hurt me. His eyes were menacing,” Brandon Tsay told The New York Times.
Tsay said he first noticed the man’s presence when he heard the front door of Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio close while he was working at the box office of the business his family has run for three generations.
He told The Times that the man pointed a semi-automatic weapon at Tsai, saying it was the first gun he had seen in real life. “My heart sank and I knew I was dying,” he said.
“From his body language, his facial expressions, his eyes, he was looking for someone,” Tsay said.
Tsay told The New York Times that he wrestled with the man for about a minute and a half before eventually wrestling the gun from him. When the man took his hand away from the weapon, he was able to grab the weapon as if to maneuver it to start firing, Tsay said.
“At that moment, it was primal instinct,” he said. “Something happened there. I don’t know what happened to me.”
Once Tsay got control of the gun, he pointed it at the suspect and yelled at him to “get the hell out of here,” he said.
Tsai told the Times he is still processing what happened but is heartbroken for the Monterey Park community. “We have such a close-knit community of dancers,” he said. “It feels so horrible that something like this happened, to have one of us trying to hurt someone else,” he told the New York Times.
Authorities’ evaluation of the second site: After shooting people at the Star Ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, Calif., police said the gunman drove to a second ballroom adjacent to the Alhambra, entered with a gun, but fled after being disarmed.
The suspect was found dead in a white van following a standoff with police in Torrance, California, on Sunday, according to police.