Oakdale Suspect Charged in Shooting Incident that Killed 9-Year-Old Boy

The Washington County Attorney's Office announced multiple charges against Nhan Lap Tran in the shooting incident that happened on Feb. 11.

An Oakdale man who shot at random vehicles Monday, resulting in the death of a young boy, was officially charged Wednesday by the Washington County Attorney's Office. 

County Attorney Pete Orput announced the filing of multiple charges against Nhan Lap Tran, 34, of Oakdale in the shooting incident near Rainbow Foods.

Nine year old Devin Aryal died from a gunshot wound to the head. Two female victims, including Devin's mother, were also hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Two others had gunshot assaults to their vehicles.

Tran was charged with second-degree intentional murder, second-degree felony murder during an assault, first-degree assault and two counts of assault in the second degree with a dangerous weapon.

Tran made his first appearance in court Wednesday before District Judge Ellen Maas. Bail was set at $2 million. The public defender was appointed and requested a competency and mental health examination, which was ordered.

According to the criminal complaint, Tran stood in the middle of Seventh Street near Hadley Avenue and opened fire with a 9mm handgun on passing motorists.

During the episode, Devin Aryal was fatally wounded, and his mother, Melissa Aryal, was also wounded.

Another driver, 68, was also wounded. She was shot in the hand and in the leg and was hospitalized at Regions Hospital, where her finger was ultimately amputated as a result of gunshot wounds. The woman had her three grandchildren in the vehicle at the time of the shooting who were unharmed. 

Two other drivers were shot at in their vehicles but not struck by the gunfire. 

The complaint indicates that Tran ultimately surrendered to a Washington County deputy peaceably. He was found to be carrying a 9mm handgun, several spare loaded magazines and numerous extra live rounds for the weapon.

In addition to the gun, officers found a backpack with two large knives in protective sheaths, the complaint states.

Upon questioning, Tran admitted that he was the person that had opened fire on the vehicles. according to the complaint. 

He admitted to officers that he reloaded his gun at least once to continue shooting. He also stated that he could have shot at other vehicles if they had been traveling behind the vehicles he already shot, according to the complaint. 

"This case is simply a senseless tragedy. We cannot comprehend a situation where a parent loses their child in any manner, much less in this way," said County Attorney Pete Orput. "Our hearts go out to Devin’s family and to the families of all the victims in this case. My office will do all it can to bring justice to all of them, at the same time knowing that it is not enough. However, they deserve no less." 

A vigil was held for Devin at Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Tuesday night. Nearly 300 people attended.


For updates and breaking news alerts on this case sign up for Oakdale Patch's email newsletter and Like us on Facebook



Simon D February 14, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Actually, woodtick, its a public defender's job to present the best defense possible. Anything less is obstruction of justice and would result in disbarrment. That's the "American way." The kind of justice system you seem to idealolize sounds a little more third world to me.
Simon D February 14, 2013 at 10:36 PM
You also need to investigate the difference between a public and a private defender. Public defenders don't get to "pass" on cases, except maybe to kick it to someone lower on the totem pole in their own office.
Linda Ziniel February 14, 2013 at 11:42 PM
To me random means shooting at no one in particular vs someone he knew. I'm sure everyone (large percentage at least) agrees that he should be prosecuted to the full extent.
TM February 17, 2013 at 01:44 PM
What is wrong with people today? This guys should be executed! Start getting rid of these people, once and for all.
pam reilly March 29, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Yes they say "random" as he did not go after anyone specific.. He was just shooting at anyone who HAD to stop at the stop sign.. duh...... I was Devin's daycare mom for almost 6 years, and the night he died, he had just 4 minutes b4 left my home.... His mother MIssy and I are friends outside of Daycare as well, so this has been very hard for all of us including all his friends at daycare to deal with, On Monday 2-15 MIssy saw he son's killer up close and personal for the first time in court, where his attorney is claiming he is incompente to stand trial for his actions... WHATEVER..... they are saying he did NOT know right from wrong..... wow... unreal.... he reloaded his gun, he threw his gun down when the cops arrived and threw his hands in the air.. not the actions of someone who didnt know what he was doing was wrong.... He planned this, as he had 2 more magazines of ammo in his back pack, as well as 2 knives... plus he spent most of the day walking up and down 7th st he even wandered down by my place as i saw him around 130pm that day.. course i didnt know what was in his mind at that time... he needs to never see the light of day ever again, Missy has lost her baby boy because this idiot was angry at cars making noise in the day when he tried to sleep.. since he was unemployed and "gamed" all night long. As Devin's mom says "an eye for an eye" I agree. This Easter, she will visit her son in a cemetary how fricken wrong is this? all cause this person had a BAD day!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »