Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old man who disarmed the Monterey Park mass shooting suspect, received a rare bipartisan standing ovation Tuesday night while in attendance at the State of the Union address.
President Joe Biden recognized Tsay while delivering remarks on gun violence.
“Two weeks ago, during Lunar New Year celebrations, he heard the studio door close, and he saw a man standing there pointing a semi-automatic pistol at him,” Biden said. “He thought he was going to die, but he thought about the people inside. In that instant, he found the courage to act and wrestle the semi-automatic pistol away from the gunman, who had already killed 11 other people at another dance studio.”
“He saved lives,” Biden added. “It’s time we do the same. Ban assault weapons once and for all.”
Surveillance footage captured the moment that Tsay, who was unaware of the earlier mass shooting, struggled with the gunman, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, and ultimately disarmed him.
A third-generation operator of the family-run Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, Tsay had previously spoken with Biden on the phone and also met with California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Erika L. Moritsugu, Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison at the White House issued this statement:
“Through [Biden’s] recognition of Brandon Tsay’s heroism in the midst of danger and fear, he has uplifted our community and shown the country, and the world, that tragedy doesn’t define us. The President reminded us all that America is a story of progress and resilience, that democracy and diversity make this possible. Together, we will be stronger as a community and country. Let’s finish the job—together.”
Tsay told NPRis last week that he wants to shift focus away from his newfound celebrity to the victims and help his community heal.
He and his family have opened the Brandon Tsay Hero Fund, starting with the $2,500 that’s already been donated to them. Tsay has teamed up with a local nonprofit, the Asian Pacific Community Fund, to redirect donations to support the Asian American Pacific Islander community.