Brandon Tsay, the man who disarmed Monterey Park suspect Huu Can Tran, said he had never held a gun prior to his altercation on Saturday.
No, I've never held a gun before. It is scary ... the weight of the gun, it dawned on me how this object was something that could end a person's life," Tsay told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday.
Tran, who was pronounced dead Sunday following a self-inflicted gunshot wound, is suspected of killing 11 people and wounding nine others in a shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California on Saturday.
Following the massacre, the 72-year-old gunman walked into the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in nearby Alhambra, California — a moment Tsay said initially made him freeze up.
"He had a gun pointed at me. It seemed like he was trying to scout out the room for other people," Tsay said. "He didn't say anything at all, he was silent, even stoic, very scary that he wasn’t even saying anything or giving me any instructions."
When it seemed like the gunman was preparing to fire his weapon, Tsay said he sprang into action.
I realized in the moment that I needed to do something ... I needed to grab the gun, try to disarm him so he couldn’t do any harm to me or others," Tsay said.
Realizing the gunman was distracted, Tsay said he lunged at him with both arms and grabbed his weapon.
"I would say the struggle lasted 40 seconds," Tsay said. "But it felt like way longer, it felt like an eternity with the adrenaline and my thoughts."
Tsay said he was able to yank the gun away, then pointed the weapon at the gunman and told him to leave, threatening to shoot him.
"I thought I would actually have to kill him," Tsay said. "Yes, I was prepared to fire but I didn't want to shoot him anywhere that would be fatal. I wanted to see if I could aim at the legs over the arms. Something that would stop him from trying to cover the gun."
Asked if he ever thought he was capable of shooting someone, Tsay said:
"If I was to view my past experiences, it seems like I would have more of a flight response, to run away. But now that I see that in this situation, my character and my mentality is totally different," he said.
Tsay has been hailed as a hero for his actions.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted a picture of his meeting with Tsay simply saying: "This is what a hero looks like."
Tsay said he understands the responsibility of the word "hero."
"I'm glad that people can look toward me and see this person, he was able to survive this situation. Maybe there's hope for others," he said.