The shootings of two people, one fatally, at a Wawa convenience store near Berks County last week were random attacks by a man who left no clues as to why he went on a rampage that ended with his suicide, authorities said Wednesday.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin provided new details of the April 21 shootings that left one man dead and a one man critically injured in the parking area of the store at Route 100 and Schantz Road in Upper Macungie Township.
Za Uk Lian, 45, of South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, had first shot at a car on a highway several miles away before heading to the convenience store around 4:45 a.m.
The driver told authorities that she didn't realize her car had been hit until she stopped at Wawa. She was uninjured.
Further investigation revealed that the woman's arrival at the Wawa and Lian's later arrival were coincidental. Lian arrived a short time after the woman had driven away, continuing to her workplace, Martin said.
Security camera footage provided by Wawa showed that Lian arrived at the store from the northbound direction of Route 100. Gunshots were reported a few minutes later.
The investigation revealed several other people were held at gunpoint at the store before the suspect, Lian, took his own life in a wooded area a short distance away, Martin said.
According to the investigation:
Lian parked next to an SUV and shot the driver without any interaction between them. The victim, whose name was not provided, was in critical condition Wednesday in Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown.
Lian then shot and killed Ramon Ramirez, 31, Allentown, as Ramirez was pumping gas into a truck tractor. There was no interaction between them.
Three other people were in the parking area of the store. Lian pointed a gun at a group of unidentified individuals standing outside of a parked vehicle.
Lian confronted the driver of a parked pickup truck outside the vehicle and demanded the keys.
The driver told Lian that the keys were inside, but officers arrived about the same time and Lian ran away.
Lian held another driver at gunpoint and demanded the vehicle.
However, with more police arriving, Lian ran toward a shed near a fence, crawled under the fence and ran about a quarter-mile to a day care center and a wooded area, where police later discover he had shot himself.
The investigation disclosed Lian arrived in the U.S. in 2013 and settled in Washington state before arriving in the Lehigh Valley about two years ago. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2019.
Authorities previously said the firearm had been purchased legally and Lian had applied for and received a concealed-carry permit in Lehigh County.
Lian was employed at a Home Depot warehouse near the Wawa. He last worked there on April 9 and was reportedly positive for COVID-19 as of April 12.
Lian's motive remains unknown as well as his whereabouts before the incident began, Martin said.
Lian's cellphone was left behind at his residence and neither it nor another electronic device recovered has revealed any evidence about these crimes or a motive, the DA said.
Martin credited the prompt response of law enforcement agencies with likely saving lives. The responding agencies included: Upper Macungie Township and state police, the DA’s Homicide Task Force, the Municipal Emergency Response Team, and Salisbury Township, Emmaus and South Whitehall Township police.