Nhan Lap Tran identified as Oakdale 'random' shooter - New York News

Oakdale 'random' shooter identified, motive a mystery

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OAKDALE, Minn. (KMSP) -

Oakdale police said innocent people were targeted by 34-year-old Nhan Lap Tran in a "random" shooting Monday night near the Rainbow Foods grocery store. A 9-year-old boy was shot and killed in the incident.

Tran was arrested a few blocks away and booked into the Washington County Jail for second-degree murder and second-degree assault. The gun and ammunition used in the shooting were also recovered.

NEIGHBORS DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM

Neighbors told FOX 9 News they don't know Tran, and didn't realize he was a resident when they saw him in the street with a gun.

"Saw the guy walking erratically," recalled Derek Lowan. "He was turning, looking behind him. He was acting very paranoid."

Witnesses say Tran walked out of his parent's home, where he lived, and began shooting at anything. Lowan told FOX 9 News he grabbed his hunting rifle, called 911 and watched Tran walk up to the corner where he opened fire and struck four cars.

"I feel pretty bad," Lowan said. "Part of me wishes I'd taken action, but I knew I acted correctly calling 911."

NO CLEAR MOTIVE

Oakdale police said Tran fired multiple rounds at four vehicles, and had plenty of additional ammunition when he was arrested. At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, police wouldn't discuss what Tran has told investigators since his arrest.

Tran was apparently shooting randomly at people and vehicles in the neighborhood around his parents' home. Police said Tran has lived in the area for several years. The handgun used in the shooting spears to be legal, and he has no police record and no prior contact with police.

Oakdale Mayor Carmen Sarrack called this a "sad day" in his city and a "sad commentary on society as a whole."

CHARGES TO COME WEDNESDAY

Tran is expected to be charged on Wednesday morning. Officials say he has no criminal record or history with police.

Police say Tran did not resist arrest or threaten officers. He simply walked up to the police perimeter about half a mile away from the shootings.

Police say the handgun he used appears to be his and was legally obtained. Tran reportedly had a permit for the weapon.

"It's a horrible situation and certainly lends itself to the concern we have about gun control and all the other kinds of issues being addressed right now throughout the country," said Oakdale Police Chief Mike Sullivan.


VIGIL TO FOCUS ON CHILDREN

Holy Cross Lutheran Church (6355 10th Street N.) is holding a community vigil at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in response to the violence. The church is located just a half-mile from the scene of the shootings.

The vigil will be open to the entire community, with a special focus for children to express their grief as they mourn the loss of a fourth grade classmate.

WHAT HAPPENED

Reports of the shooting first emerged at about 6 p.m. after bullets struck a woman's SUV and pierced her windshield. The bullets broke through the glass near the intersection of Hadley Avenue and 7th Street.

The driver of the SUV was not injured. Her husband told FOX 9 News she ducked as she saw the gunman aim at her windshield and open fire, adding that she "floored it" to get to safety.

Police said the mother of the 9-year-old who was killed had been driving when bullets burst in. She pulled into the Rainbow Foods parking lot seeking help.

Both of the surviving victims were taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul and are expected to recover.

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