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Grieving, Healing And Honoring Alhambra’s Brandon Tsay — Who Stopped Monterey Park Shooter At A Second Location

Alhambra Festival dancers in red and yellow stand on stilts during the Lunar New Year Festival in Alhambra, CA.
2023 Lunar New Year festivities continue in Alhambra. A week after a gunman killed 11 people at a ballroom in Monterey Park, people are still processing and trying to move forward
(Meg Botel
LAist )
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We’ve barely completed one month of 2023 and there’s already been at least 49 mass shootings in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. In California alone, a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, there have been seven mass shootings this year already.

That is hard enough to digest.

Americans have also been processing the release of the video of another senseless death: Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, who after a traffic stop in Memphis, was beaten by five police officers and died.

Processing A Tragedy

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It’s been a little more than a week since a gunman killed 11 people at the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park. Residents there, as well as in neighboring communities, are trying to figure out how to move forward and heal. At East Los Angeles College, three miles from where that mass shooting occurred, students talked about growing up in an age where incidents like this are, unfortunately, the norm.

My colleague Jackie Orchard spoke with ELAC students like Samantha Rodriguez who are trying to figure out ways to persevere, find hope and make change for the future. Rodriguez said this incident so close to home was a “wake-up call” for her. She grew up in Alhambra and says she was heartbroken by the shooting; it made her feel "powerless." Now, she says, she feels an urge to protect her peers from violence like this. She said:

“I am not done changing the world. And one day I hope that their children, their families, generations to follow will be protected because I helped with that,"

Lunar New Year Festivities Continue

Yesterday, at a Lunar New Year Festival in nearby Alhambra, there was also talk about grieving and moving forward. There was some dancing, candy making and calligraphy, food and games.

One festival-goer, Daisy, grew up in Alhambra and said the turnout shows they are not scared despite the tragedy:

"It shows that the community is still strong and it gives people a chance to feel better from what happened instead being fearful of Lunar New Year-related events," she said.

A crowd under a tent looks up at a a young Asian man with a mustache and beard who stands at a podium, speaking
Brandon Tsay was honored an an Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival after he disarmed the Monterey Park gunman and, many believe, prevent another attack
(Brian De Los Santos

There, 26-year-old Brandon Tsay was honored for being a hero and disarming the Monterey Park gunman before he attempted another attack at the Lai Lai Ballroom in that city. Tsay said he believes that his community will heal, but hoped for some meaningful change to come from this tragedy.

“I want everyone to take the time to grieve, to mourn, to recover," Tsay said. "But after, I want us, the people of this nation, to take action.”

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As always, try to stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

  • As of Sunday night, investigators were still looking for the person or people responsible for killing three people and injuring another four in a shooting in the Benedict Canyon area this weekend.
  • Last week, the county of L.A. embarked on the annual count to figure out how many people are living without shelter.  Nearly, 6,000 people volunteered to count the unhoused across L.A. My colleague Julia Barajas tagged along with some of them to find out how it works. 
  • An LAist reader asked us a really good question: What happens if you call 911 when you’re having a mental health crisis? First of all, it depends on where you’re located. We looked into what happens when someone needs help during such an emergency in LA and Orange Counties.
  • Neighborhood council elections are coming up. Have you ever run for a neighborhood council seat in Los Angeles? Curious what the job even is? My LAist colleagues are working on a story about what people should know if they decide to run for such a role in their community. Fill out the survey here
  • California lawmakers want an investigation into the “Wild, Wild West” of the state’s cannabis industry. They cite problems of political corruption, unlawful horticulture and exploitation of field workers. (Los Angeles Times
  • Just a little more than a month after losing P-22, our celebrity cougar, another mountain lion, P-81, was found dead on Jan. 22. Authorities said the cougar was potentially hit by a vehicle on the Pacific Coast Highway. Why it matters
  • I’m sure you’ve noticed your January energy bills look a little higher. There’s a few reasons for this but a big one is that it’s been really cold.  My colleague Rebecca Gutierrez gives us the details on the weather right now and how we might combat the high price of gas that goes along with it.  
  • What has two beady eyes, a snout and resembles a formation found on Mars? A bear! Yes, that’s right. NASA scientists just discovered a formation that resembles the face of the bear on the red planet. 
  • Looking for something to do this week? The estate of Whitney Houston will help honor the late icon in advance of what would have been her 60th birthday in August. The exhibit and immersive listening lounge will be installed at the W Hotel in Hollywood. Hungry? On Thursday, join my friends on the Cheap Fast Eats beat, Gab Chabrán and Brian De Los Santos in conversation with some popular eateries around downtown L.A. There will be food, too! There’s a lot more enjoyment to be had this week. Check our list of events.

Wait... One More Thing

The Top Three Tea-Sipping Trends

Sun is setting over Los Angeles. Apartment buildings and skyscrapers are in view set against a blue and pink sky
LAist reader Mallory Carra saw these orange and pink hues of the sunset from the Yamashiro Night Market above Franklin in the Hollywood Heights neighborhood
(Mallory Carra

THREE — Marie Kondo, our queen of tidiness is shelving her desire for neatness…and everyone has an opinion! 

First of all, I just want to say I am a fan of Marie Kondo. Through her work with her clients, I’ve been able to employ some tactics to help me organize my hectic life. So when I heard she was “giving up” on sprucing up her own household, I was kind of sad. Then, I heard she just gave birth to a third child and it all made sense to me: it’s got to be a challenge to keep one's home clean with so many little people to take care of. As always, people on Twitter had a LOT of opinions about Kondo's new shift in life. Some folks saw it as an example of how there’s vulnerability in people’s lives. But some people weren’t as forgiving.

TWO — AJ+ and others post on pictures and videos of Tyre Nichols doing what he loved: skateboarding. 

In order to keep myself sane this weekend, I made sure I avoided watching five police officers brutally beat Tyre Nichols in Memphis. Even though there were some news organizations that opted to post the video, there were those who chose to counter that imagery associated with his last moments and instead showcase his joy. AJ+ (from Al Jazeera) created a post of 10 slides about Nichols that included pictures and videos of his love for photography and skateboarding. And according to NPR, his childhood friend, Austin Robert used to record his skate videos growing up in California.

On Twitter, thousands of people also shared this video of him skateboarding.

“I want him to be remembered as the kid smiling in the skate video and not the kid that was fighting for his life,” Austin Roberts told NPR.

ONE  — L.A.-based IG accounts share a really cool sunset fact. 

The @losangelesbucketlist and @insta_losangeles IG accounts created a joint post about how we made it through dark winter afternoons. Did you know that the sun won’t set before 5 p.m. again in L.A. until November 2023? *raises hands as a signal to praise* emoji.

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