Police on Shooting Suspect: No Criminal History, No Indication of Mental Health Issues

The Oakdale Police Department held a press conference Tuesday afternoon regarding a shooting that occurred Monday night.

Police are actively investigating a "random" shooting that injured two people and killed a 9-year-old boy.

Police arrested an Oakdale man Monday night after receiving a report of gunfire at the 6900 block of Seventh Street. Shortly after, Nhan Lap Tran, 34, was apprehended at the 400 block of Hale Avenue and booked in Washington County Jail on suspicion of  second-degree murder and felony assault.

Initial reports indicate that Tran was shooting a handgun at random vehicles and hit four vehicles. Multiple rounds were shot in the area, said Police Chief Bill Sullivan 

The shots hit Melissa Aryal and her 9-year-old son, Devin, who was a passenger in the vehicle. They were both transported to Regions Hospital, where Devin was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds, according to preliminary results.

His mother was treated for her injuries and released. 

"This is a sad commentary on our society as a whole," said Mayor Carmen Sarrack. "We send our condolences and prayers to Devin's family." 

A third female victim, 68, was also shot in a separate vehicle. She was transported to Regions Hospital and is undergoing surgery for her wounds. The woman, who has not been identified, will survive, Sullivan said. 

Police were able to retrieve the handgun and found several more rounds of unused ammunition. Police interviewed Tran Monday night and believe no other suspects are at large. It also appears that Tran did not know the victims of the shooting, according to police. 

"The suspect has submitted to authority and showed no resistance to police" Sullivan said. "He did not threaten police." 

Investigators are still trying to determine what started the incident.

Tran has no criminal history. There are no indicators that Tran was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or that he has mental health issues.

Police also believe that Tran owned the gun legally.

"We are comfortable that he did not have the gun illegally," Sullivan said. 

The case is under active investigation. Tran has not yet been formally charged. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told the Star Tribune that charges should be filed Wednesday morning against Tran.  



An Oakdale man is being held in Washington County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and assault with a firearm after three people were shot Monday night. 

Nhan Lap Tran, 34, was arrested at Fourth Street and Hale Avenue after he allegedly shot at what appears to be random vehicles, according to police. 

The shots killed a 9-year-old boy and injured his 34-year-old mother. The Star Tribune identified the boy as Devin Aryal and his mother as Melissa Aryal. Devin was a fourth grader at Oakdale Elementary School. 

A third female victim, 68, was found at Sixth Street and Hale Avenue with a gunshot wound to her hand. The woman was transported to Regions Hospital and listed as in good condition late Monday night. 

Melissa Aryal, who was also brought to Regions, has since been released.


Police received the initial 911 call at 6:10 p.m. Monday night. After being shot, Melissa Aryal drove her vehicle into the Rainbow Foods parking lot near where the initial shooting took place, witnesses told the Pioneer Press

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told the Star Tribune that charges should be filed Wednesday morning against Tran. 

A vigil for Devin is planned at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, the Star Tribune reports.  

The Oakdale Police Department is planning to hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon regarding the shooting. This story will be updated as further information is available.

chad swager February 13, 2013 at 03:34 PM
This rotten son of a bitch may he rott in hell for ever for taking poor littel Devens life what a horrible person and he lucks out since mn does not have the electric chair thats all he deserves if that. As for missy and family our thoughts and prayers r with so very sorry this has happened be strong deven would want u to carry on..
yomammy February 13, 2013 at 08:30 PM
just do like MN usually does...give him 10 years, have a lawyer call him a "victim", get out in two years...


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