Two Pennsylvania boys were on life support Monday after their mother shot them in the head while they lay in bed at home in a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia, authorities said Monday.
The boys, ages 9 and 13, will remain hospitalized until their organs can be donated, a Bucks County District Attorney spokesperson said Monday evening.
Trinh Nguyen, 38, was charged with three counts of attempted criminal homicide and one count of possession of an instrumentality of crime. She was charged with shooting her two sons and attempting to shoot her neighbor before fleeing in a white van on Monday morning, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. Press release.
County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said at a press conference Monday that once the boys’ organs are transplanted, “we’ll turn these charges into two counts of homicide.”
Nguyen was taken into custody around 11:30 a.m., about four hours after authorities responded to a 911 call from the neighbor, the district attorney’s office said.
Video of the arrest captured by NBC Philadelphia showed her in what appeared to be pajamas.
According to court records, Nguyen was being held without bail.
It was not immediately clear if she had an attorney to speak on her behalf. Court records do not mention any.
According to the affidavit, authorities were dispatched to a home in Upper Makefield Township shortly after 7 a.m. when a man reported he was leaving for work when his neighbor, Nguyen, approached him with a box of Pictures.
Nguyen requested that he give the photos to her ex-husband, who the neighbor works with, the affidavit states.
When the neighbor turned around, Nguyen pointed a black gun in his face and pulled the trigger twice, according to the affidavit. The gun didn’t fire, he said.
The neighbor hugged and disarmed Nguyen, who told him the gun was unloaded – although several rounds were found in the bedroom, according to the affidavit.
After Nguyen fled and the neighbor alerted the police, authorities searched his home and found the two children.
“Upon entering, both boys were found alive but in bed with gunshot wounds to the head,” Weintraub told reporters.
Authorities issued a “wanted” bulletin describing Nguyen as armed and dangerous.
She was found at Washington Crossing United Methodist Church, a few miles east of Upper Makefield, NBC Philadelphia reported.
She was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, “due to indication that she was under the influence,” the prosecutor’s office said.
She is believed to have ingested narcotics in an attempt to kill herself, although Weintraub did not reveal what drugs may have been involved.
“There was other evidence that she intended to kill herself but didn’t succeed,” Weintraub said.
“I have two kids. It can’t hit closer to home than that. I’ve been saying my prayers ever since I got that call this morning,” Weintraub said. “It’s a very difficult picture to get out of my head.”
When asked if the gun was registered in Nguyen’s name, Weintraub said: “She hasn’t been charged with any firearms offences, so I think it’s a fair assumption that she owned that gun legally.”
Court documents show Nguyen was in a rent dispute with his landlord Corinna Tini-Melchiondo claiming Nguyen owed more than $11,000 in late or unpaid rent.
That case was filed in November 2021. Judgment was issued in December, Nguyen appealed but lost, and a possession order was issued on April 18, according to court records.
Council Rock School District Acting Superintendent Susan Elliot told NBC Philadelphia she was “deeply saddened” by the shooting.
“A tragic event is always difficult for all of us to deal with, especially for our children,” Elliott said. “We tend to process this information in different ways and at different rates. It is not uncommon to experience difficulty eating, sleeping or concentrating.”
The district is offering support to students and staff in light of the shooting.