Murder charges filed in Minn. shooting spree

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man accused of standing in the street and firing at passing cars — killing a 9-year-old boy — had roughly 200 rounds of ammunition stuffed into his jacket pocket, a backpack and the fanny pack he wearing when arrested, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Nhan Lap Tran, 34, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder and other counts in Monday’s shootings in the St. Paul suburb of Oakdale. Fourth-grader Devin Aryal died in the shootings, and his mother and another woman were injured. Two other motorists escaped as they were being fired upon, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities said Tran, of Oakdale, admitted shooting at the vehicles but did not say why. A Washington County District Court judge ordered Tran to undergo a mental health examination. Tran has no criminal record, and authorities don’t know of any past mental health issues.

“This case is simply a senseless tragedy,” Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said. “We cannot comprehend a situation where a parent loses their child in any manner, much less in this way.”

Along with bullets, Tran was carrying two loaded 9 mm magazines and two large knives when he was arrested. A loaded 9 mm handgun, with a bullet in the chamber, was found just feet from him. He admitted he tossed the gun aside when he saw authorities closing in, the criminal complaint said.

Fred Fink Jr., chief of the Washington County Attorney’s Office Criminal Division, estimated Tran had close to 200 rounds of ammunition in his jacket and packs when arrested.

Devin Aryal had just been picked up from daycare and was riding home in a minivan when he was shot multiple times, including in the head. He died from his injuries. His mother, 39-year-old Melissa Aryal, was shot in the arm.

According to the complaint and in an interview, Melissa Aryal said she was driving Monday evening when she saw a man on foot shooting at her minivan. She realized she was shot and, while injured, drove to the parking lot of a nearby Rainbow Foods. She then noticed Devin was slumped over — and she held him until an ambulance arrived.

“He didn’t deserve this. He was just a baby,” she said Tuesday.

Karen Knoblach, 68, was driving another vehicle with her three granddaughters, ages 15, 15 and 20, when they saw a man shooting at them. Knoblach was shot in the leg and hand. She had to have part of a finger amputated but was in good condition at Regions Hospital on Wednesday.

Two other vehicles also were damaged by gunfire.

Tran is charged with a total of six counts, including one count of second-degree intentional murder and one count of second-degree murder during an assault. He also faces charges of attempted murder and assault.

Bail was set at $2 million.

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