- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

ANAHEIM, CALIF. (AP) - A suspect in two separate shooting deaths of gas company workers shot himself in the head while sitting in his SUV outside a police station, authorities said Thursday.

A patrol officer saw that the driver’s side window was blown out and found Phong Thuc Tran with serious head wounds but still moving, police Sgt. Rick Martinez said.

Tran, 36, of Orange County, had worked with both victims at Southern California Gas Co.’s Anaheim office as a field technician but resigned in 2007 after five years.

“He tried to commit suicide,” police Sgt. Tim Schmidt said. “He’s not dead but he’s not expected to live.”

After an armored vehicle boxed in the sport utility vehicle, Tran was shot with beanbag rounds, pulled from the car and taken to a hospital in critical condition, Martinez said. Officers had identified his vehicle from an arrest warrant issued Wednesday.

Three handguns found in the vehicle were being compared with evidence from the locations where the two workers were shot, Schmidt said. Authorities were continuing to investigate the motive for the shootings.

Tran is a suspect in two deaths: Charles Santisteban, 43, a supervisor at Southern California Gas Co., who was gunned down in his driveway Wednesday in Pomona; and Hung Duy Dao, 37, of Westminster, who was found dead Tuesday night in the driver’s seat of his car outside the utility’s Anaheim office where he worked as a field technician for about six years.

Santisteban had worked at the Anaheim plant but left about six months ago to take a job at the utility’s Pasadena office, Schmidt said.

The two victims knew each other and had previously worked together, Schmidt said.

Some employees at the Anaheim office chose to work in other locations this week “out of concern for their own safety,” said Denise King, a spokeswoman for the utility. She did not believe Tran was stalking those employees.

The company was not releasing any additional details on the victims or the suspect, King said.

“We’re all shocked,” King said. “We’re relieved the suspect is no longer at large.”

Southern California Gas Co., a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, provides natural gas to 20 million consumers in a 20,000-square-mile territory. It describes itself as the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility.

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