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Fatal classroom shooting at L.A. trade school was preceded by student-teacher argument, sources say

Map shows location of Wednesday's shooting in purple, as well as nearby homicides in red, since January 2007. Click for more details on The Times’ interactive Homicide Report. A 22-year-old Gardena man got into an argument with his vocational school teacher moments before he left the class and returned with the pistol he used to fatally shoot the instructor, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said Thursday.

Thien Huynh was arrested on suspicion of murder Wednesday in connection with the slaying of the instructor, who taught a course at Coast Career Institute on how to become a security guard.

The victim was identified only as a 44-year-old male.  He worked as a security guard and had been teaching the 24-week class for the past three years, detectives said in a statement released late Wednesday.

The sources, who asked not to be identified because the criminal investigation is ongoing, said police have not established a motive for the killing but noted that Huynh had been singled out negatively in class by his instructor on previous occasions. 

Shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday, the sources said an argument broke out between the victim and the suspect in the 13-member class.

Huynh briefly left his classroom. Moments later, sources said, he kicked or pushed the door in and immediately opened fire on the instructor, who was standing a few feet inside the doorway. The instructor sustained multiple gunshots and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

No other students were injured and police said they believe the instructor was the lone target of the shooting, said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon

Immediately after the shooting, Huynh tossed the gun into the classroom and left the building, authorities said. Witnesses gave emergency dispatchers a description of the suspect, who was spotted smoking a cigarette at Hill Street near 14th Place, Vernon said.

One man standing outside the crime scene described the slain instructor as “one of the nicest guys ever. It was just a random act.”


Suspect kills his vocational teacher at point-blank range

Suspect briefly left security guard class before returning and opening fire, police say

-- Andrew Blankstein

Map: Shows location of Wednesday's shooting in purple, as well as 103 other homicides in red that occured since January 2007. Credit: Homicide Report

Click to visit The Times' interactive Homicide Report

Comments () | Archives (14)

Gun control...pfff, who neeeds it?

Guess he flunked the class, and now will be guarding his (censored)

So, was he arrested? Or just had a smoke and took off and they haven't found him? Come on, L.A. Times... GET IT TOGETHER OVER THERE


How nice could the teacher have been if he continuously singled this guy out?

A teacher who "singled out [any student] negatively in class...on previous occasions" does not meet my criteria for "one of the nicest guys ever." None-the-less, such public humiliation of a student by a teacher should not get the death penalty with no trial.

He was arrested.

My condolences to the family of the instructor. Vocational training brings together people with very diverse backgrounds and personalities, even these disturbed ones. In my opinion, the instructors are experienced workers first, teachers second, and may be unaware a student feels "singled out" during what most of would regard as normal coworker-type interaction during training. The classes are very small and everyone gets familiar with each other, sort of like a coach and sports team. I have a feeling this 22yo jerk was trouble from the first week, and when you have a student with emotional issues, or who problematically challenges the instructor, he/she should be expelled so the others who really do want to complete the course will not be distracted, or as in this case, traumatized.

I know the gunman personally. He was nice and friendly, but he had a really hard life and so he kept to himself sometimes. I may be biased, but Madsircool makes a good point - how IS Herrera "one of the nicest guys ever" if the students noted that he constantly picked on Law specifically, over and over again? I've had my share of a few teachers picking on ME and mocking me in front of the whole class, but I would NEVER go on a shooting rampage. Maybe Law just had enough and went pyscho. But at the same time I'm very sad for Herrera, no one deserves to die like that. I'm sad for him and his family and everyone who knew him. And I'm sad for Law and his family.

Singled out by the teacher does not make it right for the
guy to go get a gun or sharp object or rock or whatever
and go back and attack the teacher and if the teacher did
single him out why did he do it? Was the student being rude
to the teacher? Attacking teachers is not right ok or responding
in an aggressive way like that ok there are other ways to
express any kind of anger.

Gaucho, what does this have to do with gun control when he could've bought the gun illegally, along with a social security card and driver's license, on the sidewalk of 6th street?

Oh, and who cares if the teacher was "nice" or not? There are proper channels to handle this type of thing...oh wait, this is L.A.

The guy standing outside, describing the slain instructor as "the nicest guy and it was just a random act". How was it a random act when he was targeted? Violence is never the answer.

This guy cheated on his gf whom he just asked to marry him by messing around with a bunch of other women. He used h is job as a security guard at concerts to get laid. He was scum and deserved to get killed. Apparently a lot of the women he was having relations with showed up at his candle lighting ceremony. Maybe they all chipped in to get him killed. He certainly would have deserved it.


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