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2 Fullerton Suspects Arrested in Slayings of 2 at Stanton Apartment

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three men were arrested Wednesday in two fatal shootings at an apartment last week, which authorities called retaliation for an earlier fight.

Arrested on suspicion of murder and held at Orange County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail each were Khanh Phuoc Mai, 34, Dan Huu Mai, 35, and Hung Van Mai, 34, all of Fullerton, Sheriff’s Lt. Richard J. Olson said. It was not immediately known whether the men are related. The shooting occurred Saturday night in an apartment in the 10000 block of Fern Avenue in Stanton.

Son Van Tran, 38, who lives at the apartment, said he and several neighbors had gathered that night to talk about going into business together.

Tran, who emigrated to Orange County from Vietnam with his family in March, said Wednesday: “It’s a new country, and we just wanted to make a living. We were talking about cooking pho ,” a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, to sell.

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Tran said he had invited the suspects to his apartment when they had called that evening because he thought the phone call meant the men wanted to make amends about the earlier fight. Some of Tran’s friends had been involved in a scuffle with one of the suspects at his apartment a few days earlier, Tran said.

The fight “was a minor argument over some money,” Tran said. “I wasn’t even involved. As a matter of fact, I tried to break it up and somehow got caught in the middle. Look what happens.”

Instead of making amends, the assailants arrived and began shooting into the room, in which at least 15 people had gathered, he said.

“Apparently the suspects returned to the apartment . . . and shot the victims as a matter of retaliation for the fight,” Olson said.

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Chien Xuan Nguyen, 22, of Stanton and Ba Va Tran, 20, of Westminster were fatally shot in the head. Son Van Tran (no relation to the victim) was treated at a local hospital for gunshot wounds and released this week.

“They’re not bad men, they’re good men,” Tran said Wednesday about the suspects. “It was just a simple argument that erupted into something tragic. It just doesn’t make sense.”

The investigation is continuing. The suspects were arrested as they were leaving their Fullerton home on the 1100 block of West Orangethorpe Avenue, Olson said.

Funeral services for Chien Nguyen have been scheduled for noon today at Pierce Bros. Mortuary in Anaheim. Funeral services for Tran are pending.

Times staff writer Eric Young contributed to this story.


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