'You are America,' Biden tells hero who tackled mass shooter
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President Joe Biden on Thursday called the 26-year-old who wrestled the gun away from a suspected mass shooter in California, telling him: "You are America."
"I wanted to call and see how you're doing and thank you for taking such incredible action in the face of danger," Biden is heard telling Brandon Tsay on a recording of the call.
Biden posted a video on Twitter of his chat with Tsay, who wrestled the firearm from a 72-year-old man at a ballroom in Alhambra during Lunar New Year celebrations -- after the man had opened fire at a dance hall in nearby Monterey Park, killing 11 people.
After Tsay managed to secure the gun in an extended tussle -- captured on closed circuit video later released by US media -- the suspect left the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio. The next morning, he shot himself dead as police closed in on his van.
"I don't think you understand just how much you've done for so many people who are never even going to know you. But I want them to know more about you," Biden said.
"You have my respect. You are America, pal," the president said. "America's never backed down. We've always stepped up because of people like you."
Tsay can be heard saying he was "still processing what I did and what I experienced."
"For you to call, that's just so comforting for me," he tells Biden.
At a White House celebration later Thursday for the Lunar New Year, Biden called for a moment of silence in memory of the slain and again praised Tsay.
"He charged the gunman, wrestled him to the ground and took away a semi-automatic pistol," Biden said.
"I think sometimes we underestimate the incredible acts of courage: someone is shooting and has a semi-automatic pistol aimed at you and you think about others. It's pretty profound."
Biden also hailed police and other first responders, saying "they answered the call."