Family and friends laid to rest two former UT students this weekend after a Nov. 2 incident in North Austin left them dead and one woman injured.
Phu Truong and Howard Huynh met through their involvement in the Vietnamese Student Association and IC2 Productions, a community service and social organization. They later lived together with two other roommates in a home near MoPac Boulevard and Parmer Lane. Huynh worked at an Asian fusion restaurant, Sea Dragon, while Truong graduated from UT with a philosophy degree in spring 2010 and who friends said wanted to pursue law.
Friends remembered both as helpful, loyal and full of life. Doan Bui, a UT alumnus who joined both organizations with the two, said Truong was nice, hard-working and motivated.
“Sometimes I think how nice he was got the best of him because he was always willing to help,” he said. “He went out of his way to help me move when everyone else was busy with finals.”
At about 5:20 a.m. on Nov. 2, Austin Police responded to a shooting call in a residence near 12300 Tomanet Trail. The officers approached the front door, and Huynh fired at them. He fled the scene when Officer Jason Martin fired back in response, said Senior Police Officer Veneza Aguinaga, an APD spokeswoman.
Officers heard more gunshots down the road, where they found a 29-year-old female with a gunshot wound, police said. Travis County EMS transported the woman to Round Rock Medical Center, where she was in stable condition.
Officer Will Ray found Huynh in the parking lot of a Jaguar dealership on the 12300 block of North MoPac. Authorities said Huynh pointed an assault rifle at the officer, which prompted Ray to shoot the suspect. Huynh was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers later found the body of 26-year-old Truong in the home, where the fire department received the first call. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police have not yet identified a motive for the shooting.
“I think it’s something that happened in the heat of the moment and just got out of hand,” Bui said. “They were almost like brothers — they loved each other and sometimes got into little arguments.”
Friends at Huynh’s funeral service in Arlington Saturday especially recalled his love of traditional Vietnamese folk music.
“He was always singing it,” Bui said. “He was never afraid to be himself. He always told us, ‘Be proud of who you are,’ and that we should not be embarrassed of it.”
Bui said after graduating, he and Huynh remained close. Bui said he last saw Huynh in late September at a friend’s wedding, where Huynh seemed to be the same, light-hearted guy.
Helena Kean, a graduate nursing student at UT-Arlington, said she hung out with Huynh and Truong whenever she came back to Austin. She said the men were reliable, caring and genuine. When she heard about the incident from a friend’s text message, she said she was in disbelief and stayed home that night to grieve and contemplate.
“It was hard to swallow and accept that this tragedy occurred,” she said. “Now, I know it has happened, and regardless of how it happened, what I’m feeling now is how I’m going to miss my best friends. I’m going to miss them so much.”