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Man charged with murder in Minnesota shooting that killed child

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Automobiles wait in a traffic jam on a New York City highway
Automobiles wait in a traffic jam on a New York City highway

(Reuters) - A 34-year-old Minnesota man was charged with murder and assault on Wednesday after killing a 9-year-old boy when he opened fire on motorists in a St. Paul suburb, authorities said.

The charges against Nhan Lap Tran, 34, of Oakdale include second-degree intentional murder and first-degree assault for the shooting spree on Monday that killed Devin Aryal and wounded his mother, who was driving.

Another woman driver was also hit by the gunfire and lost a finger, according to the Washington County Attorney's office.

Two other drivers were shot at in their vehicles but were not struck by bullets.

Tran appeared in court before District Judge Ellen Maas, who set bail at $2 million. A public defender was appointed, and a competency and mental health examination was ordered.

Prosecutors say Tran stood in the middle of the street in Oakdale and opened fire with a 9mm handgun on passing motorists.

After surrendering peacefully to a sheriff's deputy, Tran was found to be carrying the handgun, plus several spare magazines and extra rounds for the weapon, the prosecutors' office said.

Tran admitted to the shooting, according to prosecutors.

The case was "simply a senseless tragedy," said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput. "We cannot comprehend a situation where a parent loses their child in any manner, much less in this way."

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama made a strong case for a toughening gun control laws in the United States, which has seen a rash of recent shootings.

(Reporting By Mary Wisniewski; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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