Police arrested a woman accused of shooting and attempting to kill her two sons while they were in bed inside a Bucks County home.
On Monday at 7:05 a.m., police responded to a home on Timber Ridge Road in Upper Makefield Township for a report of an armed person. When they arrived they were met by a 22-year-old man.
The man told police that his neighbor, 38-year-old Trinh Nguyen, spoke with him earlier that day. She handed him a box of photos and asked him to give the box to her ex-husband who he worked with, investigators said.
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When the man turned around to face Nguyen, she allegedly pointed a black revolver at his face and pulled the trigger twice. The gun did not fire however, police said.
The man then wrapped Nguyen in a bear hug and disarmed her, according to investigators. Nguyen then fled the area in a white Toyota Sienna minivan. Officials issued a BOLO / wanted bulletin for her.
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After being told that Nguyen had two children, ages 13 and 9, police and a neighbor searched through her home for them. They then found both boys suffering from gunshot wounds to their heads.
Both children were taken to Saint Mary Medical Center and at least one of them underwent surgery. Sources told NBC10 neither boy is expected to survive. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at a news conference that their organs will be donated.
Several law enforcement agencies took part in a manhunt for Nguyen who was considered armed and dangerous. Later that morning, members of the United Methodist Church in Washington Crossing spotted Nguyen's van in the church parking lot.
“I came walking down to the church, down that end and I noticed a white van running over here which is very odd,” MaryAnne Heacks, a church member, told NBC10.
Heacks said she didn't think much of it until she received a call from her son, a police officer in Virginia. Her son then told her about the BOLO / wanted bulletin for Nguyen.
“He still follows the Upper Makefield Police Facebook page,” Heacks said. “He saw what happened and he texted me to say, you know, ‘Lock up. This is armed and dangerous, they’re saying.’"
Heacks then alerted Thomas Koveleski, another church member, about the van.
“And I noticed the van out there with the lights on,” Koveleski said. “At least at 8:30. MaryAnne calls me, ‘Hey, my son says you better do something about that van.’ So I called directly to the police department. I said, ‘I know you’re busy but I have a white van up here. Somebody in it. I don’t know what’s going on.’”
Police arrived at the church around 11:30 a.m. and found Nguyen inside the van.
“Once I saw rifles coming out, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ And then they all had their shields. And then they were just running from all directions,” Heacks said.
NBC10’s Deanna Durante was there as police took Nguyen into custody. The officers held shields as they approached her vehicle.
Investigators believe she was driving under the influence of drugs and she was taken to Saint Mary Medical Center.
Nguyen is being charged with three counts of attempted homicide and a count of possession of an instrument of crime. Those charges will be upgraded to murder if Nguyen's two sons die from their injuries, according to Weintraub.
Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the shooting.
NBC10 obtained documents showing Nguyen's ex-sister-in-law is the owner of the home where she lived. Records show Nguyen owed $11,000 in back rent. She had been ordered to be evicted from the property on Tuesday, the day after the shooting and arrest.
“God bless her,” Heacks said. “I pray for her because she’s going to have to live with that the rest of her life.”
United Methodist Church is offering a space for the community to find healing and prayer in the aftermath of the shooting.
Council Rock School District Acting Superintendent Susan Elliott said she was "deeply saddened" by the shooting of the boys.
"A tragic event is always difficult to process for all of us, especially our children," Elliott wrote. "We tend to process such information in different ways and at different paces. It is not uncommon to experience difficulty eating, sleeping, or concentrating."
A growing memorial of flowers and a teddy bear was placed outside one of the schools.
"Please know that we will continue to monitor our students and staff and provide them the support they need while they are at school."
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), visiting www.thehotline.org or texting LOVEIS to 22522.