OAKDALE, Minn. - Investigators in Washington County are building a case against a 34-year-old Oakdale man who allegedly opened fire on a number of targets in his own neighborhood Monday night, killing 9-year-old Devin Aryal and wounding his mother Melissa Aryal and another 68-year-old woman in a separate car.
The Washington County jail roster lists the suspect's residence as a home on the 600 block of Guthrie Avenue North in Oakdale, not far from the Rainbow Foods parking lot where they found the boy and his mother suffering from gunshot wounds.
A neighbor across the street tells KARE 11 she saw the suspect, dressed in dark clothing and likely carrying a backpack, walking nonchalantly down the street in front of her house. Moments later, Cheryl Russell heard what she describes as "about 15 shots." She quickly called 911.
Russell says police were at the suspect's home until about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday looking for evidence. She believes the family, elders and 3 or 4 adult children, have lived at the house across the street from hers for about five years.
The 9-year-old, who was identified by his mother, was a fourth grader at Oakdale Elementary School. The school released a statement Tuesday morning. It reads:
"We are deeply saddened that this horrific tragedy took the life of one of our Oakdale Elementary fourth graders. Our hearts go out to the family and the entire Oakdale community. We will have extra staff members on hand to offer support to students who need to speak with a caring adult. Our building and district social worker, school counselors and school psychologists will be available to meet with any of our students who need to talk through the situation. "
Police say the suspect was randomly firing on vehicles around 6:10 p.m., including the minivan in which the young victim and his mother were riding. After they were hit the mother pulled into the grocery store parking lot and called 911.
First responders rushed the boy to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. His 39-year-old mother was treated for a gunshot wound to the arm.
Another woman in another vehicle was struck in the hand blocks away.
An incident report released Tuesday morning says the suspect was arrested near the intersection of 4th and Hale, and a handgun and ammunition was recovered nearby.
A police spokesperson says investigators were on the scene Tuesday morning looking for additional spent gun casings and damage over an area that spans six blocks.
The 34-year-old man is being held on possible charges of second degree murder and second degree assault. Police say they are confident he acted alone, but at this point have not commented on a potential motive.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput is scheduled to meet with investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) Tuesday afternoon. The suspect could appear in court as early as Wednesday morning.
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