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Mother Of Slain Oakdale Boy: ‘Why Shoot Innocent People?’

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Just one day after a random shooting in Oakdale killed a 9-year-old boy, his mother is speaking out and simply wants to know one thing: Why?

Melissa Aryal says she was just driving home from work after picking her son up at day care when they wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On Monday night at 6:10 p.m., police responded to a report of shots fired near the 6900 block of 7th Street North. Early reports indicated a man was shooting at passing vehicles near 7th and Hadley.

During the shootings, 9-year-old Devin Joseph Aryal of Oakdale was struck by gunfire while he rode in the minivan. He died soon after.

“I pulled into the Rainbow when I saw blood and my arm went numb,” Melissa said. “There was a bullet hole in the back of the minivan window and a saw a separate one in the hatch.”

Melissa remembers holding onto her boy until the ambulance arrived. Just days before, he was his usual smiling self, playing dress up at home with his older sister, Savannah, and family friend Sara Johnson.

“He as running through my room and we were laughing and giggling,” said Melissa.

Now, Melissa’s fond memories are overshadowed by questions.

“Why? Why would you just shoot innocent people? It’s so senseless. Why?” Melissa said.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Oakdale held a vigil at 7 p.m. Tuesday that involved leaders from faith organizations in the community. The church is about a half-mile west of where Monday’s deadly shooting took place.

A Memorial Fund has been set up at the U.S. Bank in Oakdale off of 10th street for Devin Aryal.

The other woman who was shot, Karen Knoblach, is recovering from her injuries. She’s in the hospital in good condition.

The alleged shooter, 34-year-old Nhan Lap Tran, is in the Washington County Jail on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

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