WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden called 26-year-old Brandon Tsay to thank him for disarming the Monterey Park shooting suspect over the weekend.
Tsay can be seen in surveillance video wresting a firearm from the shooting suspect Huu Can Tran at a dance studio in Alhambra. Authorities say Tran had just opened fire at a Lunar New Year celebration at another dance studio in nearby Monterey Park, killing 11 people and injuring 10 others.
Tsay has been hailed as a "hero" for preventing further loss of life in the shooting spree, an act of bravery that Biden told Tsay was representative of America's spirit.
"I wanted to call to see how you're doing and thank you for taking such incredible action in the face of danger," Biden told Tsay. "I don't think you understand just how much you've done for so many people who are never going to even know you. But I want them to know more about you. ... You have my respect. You are America, pal. You are who we are -- no, no, you are who we are. America's never backed down, we've always stepped up, because of people like you."
Tsay's actions likely led authorities to the suspect directly. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told CNN that the gun wrested away from the shooter in Alhambra -- a Cobray M11 9mm semi-automatic weapon designed to take 30-round magazines -- was traced to the suspect, giving authorities his name and description.
The suspect, identified by authorities as Tran, was discovered by police late Sunday morning in Torrance, where he fatally shot himself as police approached his vehicle, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna .
In the wake of the shooting, Biden urged congressional passage of a pair of bills aimed at reducing gun violence and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
"When I signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act -- the first significant piece of gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years -- I said that there was still work to be done to keep our communities safe and keep dangerous firearms out of dangerous hands," Biden said in a statement Monday. "In the short time since, communities across America have been struck by tragedy after tragedy, including mass shootings from Colorado Springs to Monterey Park and daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines."
The president ordered the flags lowered to half-staff on federal grounds Monday as well -- a proclamation that would be extended when, just a day later, another gunman killed seven in Half Moon Bay.
Pointing to new legislation introduced Monday by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Biden said, "I urge both chambers of Congress to act quickly and deliver this Assault Weapons Ban to my desk."
And Vice President Kamala Harris, a California native and the nation's first vice president of Black and Asian descent, made her own visit Wednesday to Monterey Park, where she laid a wreath and paid her respects to the families of victims killed in the shooting spree.
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