The city of Alhambra presented Brandon Tsay with its Medal of Courage Sunday for disarming the gunman in the Monterey Park shooting, reports USA Today.
The honor took place at a Lunar New Year’s celebration less than 5 miles from where the gunman killed 11 people and injured many more.
“The situation still seems so surreal to me,” Tsay said after receiving a standing ovation as officials presented him the award. “All your words of encouragement and praise have empowered me to reflect on my life. I realize that life is fragile. We as a community need to spend our precious time to help one another,” he said according to News 18.
Local and federal officials emphasized the carnage would have been much worse without his bravery to wrestle the gun from the shooter Huu Can Tran. Tran would later be found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
CNN reports that President Biden has invited Tsay to be his guest at the State of the Union address on February 7.
“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 last week. “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,” the President said. “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.”
Alhambra officials considered canceling their annual celebration but decided to go ahead with it.
“This is an opportunity for the community to come together,” John Bwarie, CEO of the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce and one of the festival’s lead organizers, told USA TODAY. “Being with other people, as a part of the healing process.”
“As I look towards the future, my heart is full of hope,” he said on his Facebook page.
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