|For Immediate Release
May 27, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF PARTYGOER CELEBRATING VIETNAMESE
LUNAR NEW YEAR AFTER LEAVING
GARDEN GROVE RESTAURANT
*A co-defendant is also charged in this case
SANTA ANA – A man faces trial Tuesday for the shooting-murder of a partygoer leaving a Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration at a Garden Grove Restaurant. Thanh Van Tran, 29, Garden Grove, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. Tran is being held on $1 million bail. Opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Loi Van Nguyen, 32, Garden Grove, is charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact and faces a maximum sentence of five years in state prison. He is out of custody and is scheduled for a pre-trial trial setting conference June 15, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center.
In the late evening on Jan. 24, 2009, Tran and Nguyen are accused of attending a Vietnamese Lunar New Year party held at D Saigon, a restaurant in Garden Grove. Upon leaving the party, Nguyen is accused of engaging in an argument outside the restaurant with another man who had also been at the New Year’s celebration. The man’s brother-in-law, 40-year-old Tommy Ngoc Ta, witnessed the altercation and tried to push Nguyen off his relative. Tran is accused of exiting the party and going back to his car and arming himself with a gun. Tran is accused of approaching Ta and firing three shots, hitting the victim in his left and right arm and once in the chest. Nguyen is accused of driving with Tran and fleeing the scene. Witnesses called 911.
Ta was transported to University of California, Irvine Hospital where he was pronounced dead a few hours later. The victim was a married father of three.
Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD) officers responded to the scene and investigated the case. A day later, Nguyen is accused of contacting police to turn himself in. Upon further investigation by GGPD, Tran was linked to the crime and arrested later that same day.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.