30-year-old Nikhom Thephakaysone was arrested Tuesday in connection with a shooting on Muni Metro in Ingleside Heights that left S.F. State student Justin Valdez dead. According to police, the attack was "random and unprovoked." A search of Thephakaysone's home, just three blocks away from the crime scene, turned up several rifles, knives, survival gear and $20,000 in cash.
The 20-year-old Valdez was shot in the back of the head as he exited the Muni light rail car near the intersection of Randolph and Bright Streets around 10 p.m. Monday night.
After Police posted surveillance video of the suspect online earlier this week, Thephakaysone was arrested outside his home in the Oceanview neighborhood. On Wednesday, after SFPD announced their arrest, Thephakaysone's parents answered the door when the Chronicle came knocking, but declined to comment on their son's arrest.
Thursday afternoon in another press conference related to the case, SFPD officials displayed evidence recovered during a search of the suspect's home. In addition to the alleged murder weapon, police found two rifles, several large hunting knives, various survival gear and $20,000 cash in $100 bills.
On Wednesday, Valdez's roommate 19-year-old Tonya Joe Dollente told the Chronicle that it seemed unlikely he could have done anything to prvoke an attack. "There's nothing that he could have done to make someone want to shoot him," she explained. "I just don't get it." Other former classmates and teachers from his hometown of Garden Grove remembered him as a strong water polo player and a persistent student. In a statement, SF State University President Les Wong offered his heartfelt concern and offered the support of the University.