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Celebration at California dance ballroom a sign of healing following Lunar New Year shooting

May 21, 2023, 3:42 PM

Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio founder Joyce Tsay, left, and her grandson and co-owner, Brandon Tsay, ...

Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio founder Joyce Tsay, left, and her grandson and co-owner, Brandon Tsay, co-host a Community Dance to highlight the pride, strength, and resilience of the Asian American and Pacific Islander, AAPI, community at their ballroom in Alhambra, Calif., on Saturday, May 20, 2023. Brandon Tsay disarmed a mass shooter during Lunar New Year celebrations at his family's dance studio. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

ALHAMBRA, Calif. (AP) — A weekend celebration at a Southern California dance ballroom was hailed by organizers as the latest sign of healing within the Asian American community following the Lunar New Year shooting that killed 11 people at a nearby dance studio.

One of the hosts of Saturday’s event at Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra was Brandon Tsay, who on Jan. 21 famously wrestled a semi-automatic weapon away from the gunman who had earlier shot up Star Ballroom Dance Studio in neighboring Monterey Park.

Tsay, whose family has owned Lai Lai Ballroom for years, said the celebration is an example of the community standing strong and moving forward after the tragedy.

“If you have these strong connections with one another, you’ll be able to support each other, lift each other up, even through times of crisis such as what happened earlier this year,” Tsay said, according to ABC 7.

The event, part of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, featured dancing, live music performances and traditional food. It was organized by the legal-aid nonprofit Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California.

Investigators haven’t determined a motive for the massacre at Star Ballroom, which also left nine mostly elderly people wounded. The 72-year-old gunman later killed himself in a van he used to flee the Lai Lai Ballroom after being disarmed by Tsay.

The carnage, during what should have been joyful Lunar New Year celebrations, sent ripples of fear through Asian American communities in the neighborhoods east of Los Angeles.

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Celebration at California dance ballroom a sign of healing following Lunar New Year shooting