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Motive sought in fatal shooting of 9-year-old boy

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 6:59 p.m. MDT

Pastor Chris Duckworth of Grace Lutheran Church of St. Paul, Minn., leads a small group in song outside a Rainbow Foods store Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 in Oakdale, Minn., following an apparent random shooting at passing vehicles near the store that left a 9-year-old boy dead and his mother and another woman wounded. The victims in the two vehicles sped to the food store for help.  A 34-year-old Oakdale man is in custody.(AP Photo/Jim Mone) (Associated Press) Pastor Chris Duckworth of Grace Lutheran Church of St. Paul, Minn., leads a small group in song outside a Rainbow Foods store Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 in Oakdale, Minn., following an apparent random shooting at passing vehicles near the store that left a 9-year-old boy dead and his mother and another woman wounded. The victims in the two vehicles sped to the food store for help. A 34-year-old Oakdale man is in custody.(AP Photo/Jim Mone) (Associated Press)

OAKDALE, Minn. — Police were still trying to determine Tuesday why a 34-year-old man randomly shot at passing vehicles in a suburban St. Paul neighborhood, wounding a female driver and killing her 9-year-old son, an aspiring astronaut whom she'd just picked up from daycare.

A witness said that the man, whom police identified Tuesday as Nhan Lap Tran of Oakdale, was nonchalantly walking down the block the night before, as if he was on a stroll, when he began firing his handgun at cars.

Devin Aryal, 9, of Oakdale was killed. His mother, Melissa Aryal, 39, was shot in the arm. A woman in another vehicle also was injured, but was expected to survive.

Police Chief Bill Sullivan said it appeared Tran legally owned the handgun used in the attack, and officials were trying to determine if something happened to trigger the shootings.

Tran was arrested without incident about a half-mile away from where the shooting started. He was in custody Tuesday on suspicion of second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

Markers where bullets found are positioned as evidence on Seventh Street in Oakdale, Minn., as police investigate a shooting that occurred near Hadley Avenue and Seventh Street in Oakdale where at least three people were shot, one fatally, Monday evening, February 11,2013. Police took a  neighborhood  man into custody.  (AP Photo/Pioneer Press, Ginger Pinson) evening, Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Pioneer Press, Ginger Pinson) MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIB OUT, MAGS OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT (Associated Press) Markers where bullets found are positioned as evidence on Seventh Street in Oakdale, Minn., as police investigate a shooting that occurred near Hadley Avenue and Seventh Street in Oakdale where at least three people were shot, one fatally, Monday evening, February 11,2013. Police took a neighborhood man into custody. (AP Photo/Pioneer Press, Ginger Pinson) evening, Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Pioneer Press, Ginger Pinson) MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIB OUT, MAGS OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT (Associated Press)

Devin's mother, Melissa Aryal, described her son as a happy-go-lucky boy who loved soccer, math and science.

"He loved life. He loved everybody," she said.

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