A Bucks County mother accused of shooting her two sons was involved in a lengthy custody battle with the father of one of her children, newly obtained court documents reveal.
Trinh Nguyen, 38, shot her two children, ages 13 and 9, while they were in bed inside an Upper Makefield Township home Monday morning, investigators said.
When a relative of Nguyen’s ex-husband spoke with her, she handed him a box of photos and asked him to give the box to her ex-husband, according to police. She then allegedly pointed a black revolver at his face and pulled the trigger twice. The gun did not fire however, police said.
The relative managed to disarm Nguyen who fled the scene and was later found and arrested in the parking lot of a church in Washington Crossing.
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Nguyen’s children remain in extremely critical condition.
Court filings show Nguyen and the father of her youngest son had gotten married in 2015. That same year, the father accused Nguyen of fleeing from their home with their child, who was a toddler at the time, and traveling to Texas, telling him she wouldn’t return. The couple later appeared to have resolved their dispute however.
Six years later in 2021, divorce proceedings between Nguyen and her husband began. According to court documents, the couple agreed to split the value of a Philadelphia home. Nguyen was to be paid $220,000 and granted monthly support payments. In addition to shared custody, a judge also granted Nguyen’s request to take their son to Vietnam every other summer.
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In July 2021, Nguyen returned to court, accusing her ex-husband of not complying and failing to get a passport for their child. Attorneys for her ex-husband responded by stating Nguyen had no income and had only recently begun to work by selling eyelashes online. They also said she had been evicted from the home she rented from her ex-husband’s sister.
The attorneys described Nguyen as a flight risk and kidnapper. They also feared she would flee to Vietnam and not return her son to his father amid the hefty divorce payout.
Nguyen’s ex-husband said he was looking to move closer to his son and was actively searching for a home in Newtown, according to court documents.
A new custody agreement between Nguyen and her ex-husband had also gone into effect on April 1 and a hearing as well as other court proceedings were scheduled within the next few months.
Documents showed Nguyen owed $11,000 in back rent to her ex-sister-in-law. Her eviction date was set for Tuesday, a day after she allegedly shot her two children.
NBC10 also learned the father of Nguyen’s oldest child lives out of state and it’s unclear if the two were engaged in a custody battle.
Nguyen is 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 Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub.
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.