A dance instructor and owner at the Star Dance Studio was being hailed Monday as a hero who sacrificed his life by rushing the gunman at the facility during the shooting rampage in Monterey Park that left 10 people dead.
Ming Wei Ma has not been formally identified as a victim of the shooting, but a friend told reporters he was among those killed, having tried to intervene as the suspect opened fire.
“He was an extremely respected, very beloved, very caring teacher, instructor, extremely kind human being, and he’s very much missed by everyone in the Star Dance community,” friend Eric Chen told Fox11.
Chen told ABC7 that Ma had been teaching dance for two decades and was “respected in the dance community.”
“He was trying to stop the shooter,” Chen said, citing witnesses who reported in an online chat what they saw inside the studio.
“According to the chat, he was the first to rush the shooter,” Chen told CBS2.
Other friends gave similar accounts to Sino TV, many saying they were with Ma just before the shots rang out.
A woman who survived the shooting said her longtime friend and dance partner that night saved her life, shielding her from the attack as the bullets flew. He wound up being shot in the back.
The woman told the station she and her 62-year-old dance partner then hid under a table until the attack ended. The woman, identified only as Shally, said two of her friends died in the shooting, and others were shot.