“Everyone at the Eden Center considers the shootings a terrible, terrible shame. The victim, the bassist in a local band, was known by many people here including me. We are all very saddened and will miss him,” said Alan Frank, general counsel for the Eden Center, the City of Falls Church’s lively, predominantly Vietnamese-American retail center.
The City of Falls Church Police Department released the identities of the victim and suspect of last weekend’s shooting at the Eden Center. Tai “Peter” Phan, 49, and The Vu, 39, were found dead at the shopping center Saturday, July 14. Police say Phan, 49, the bassist, was shot and then fled on foot before being shot again. Phan was declared dead by paramedics at the scene.
The Vu, 39, was found in a car in the Eden Center’s parking lot with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police say, where he was declared dead at the scene.
Police determined that both Phan and Vu were shot by the same caliber weapon and are working to determine if the same gun was used in both shootings. Witness descriptions of the shooter match Vu and F.C. police have established that the men knew each other. A motive has yet to be determined.
“This was a tragic, isolated domestic incident, and should not reflect on the safety of the Eden Center, even late at night,” Frank told the News-Press Wednesday. “This is a safe place, so much better than it used to be 15 years ago.”
He said he’s been on the phone frequently with the Falls Church Police Department, and said that the deputy chief considers it an isolated incident, some form of domestic dispute yet to be determined.
“Leaders of the Vietnamese-American community also consider it a terrible shame, and not representative of their community, which is peaceful and hard-working, at all,” Frank added.
The shootings took place at about 10 p.m. on Saturday night, and according to eyewitness accounts reported in the Washington Post, Pham was emerging from his car in the parking lot to play at gig at the Viet Star, a restaurant in the Eden Center, when he was shot three times at close range. He fled, chased by the assailant, tried to hide behind a dumpster before three more shots were fired.
Some 90 minutes later, Falls Church police discovered Vu dead from an apparently self-inflicted gun shot wound in his car elsewhere on the Eden Center premises.
Police are still seeking information and ask that witnesses or persons with information related to the incident contact them at 703-248-5053.