from John P. Kelly, Randolph Herald
Howard Trang had been plagued for months by sleepless nights and suspected that someone was poisoning him, his boss said.
Last Monday, March 31, he called in sick to work at Alloy Fabricators of New England. The following day, he showed up with a gun, shot a co-worker twice then drove away and turned the gun on himself.
Police have not said whether they believe Trang’s struggle with insomnia may have triggered the workplace shooting followed by Trang’s apparent suicide in his truck less than two miles away on a wooded, dead-end road.
The man he shot, Jean Dure, a 52-year-old Haitian immigrant who lives in Weymouth, was listed in critical condition and scheduled to undergo his second surgery to remove a second bullet lodged in his abdomen.
The eldest of Dure’s three sons, Vladimir Dure, 23, said family members were keeping vigil at Caritas Good Samaritan in Brockton, where his father was in intensive care.
“We have no idea,” Dure said, when asked why Trang, 48, a Vietnamese immigrant who lived in Dorchester, might have wanted to kill his father. “I’m still trying to find out myself.”
Though the motive remained a mystery, the basic facts of the crime appeared clear.
The two men, both welders, had arrived at work by 7 a.m. Tuesday and were alone in a locker room adjoining Alloy Fabricators’ 1,500-square-foot workshop, company President Christian Dietz said. Many of the 13 other factory workers heard a “pop” and then Dure yell out that he’d been shot, he said.
The workers called 911.
Police arrived to find Dure had been shot twice in the mid-section, one of the bullets having first passed through his arm. Trang, who had fled, was found dead about an hour later on Walsh Street, a secluded road that dead ends at Great Pond.
Police found a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in the vehicle.
Randolph Police Chief Paul Porter said a resident had called police to report an abandoned truck with its engine still running.
At Alloy Fabricators, workers were told to take the day off. Dietz, who stayed at the shop, said he had noticed no telltale signs of conflict between the two men, who had both worked there for several years.
But Dietz said Trang had struggled with an “unknown medical condition” since the fall that left him unable to sleep. He had taken significant time off, including for a month-long trip to Vietnam in February, which Dietz said he had hoped would provide some needed rest and relaxation.
“He was definitely hurting,” Dietz said of Trang, who was married with no children. “He was not working as well as he did at one time.”
Two weeks ago, Dietz said, a rumor circulated through the workshop that Trang felt his insomnia might have been brought on by someone poisoning him.
Trang called in sick Monday. Dietz said he urged him over the phone to have doctors pinpoint his health disorder so he might be placed on short-term disability.
Dietz said he couldn’t picture Dure instigating a dispute, describing him as a “wonderful, hard-working, quiet man,” who raised three sons alone since his wife died of breast cancer several years ago.
“He has gone through a lot of things in this life and he does it with quiet dignity,” Dietz said. He said Dure is a naturalized U.S. citizen who had worked at the company nearly a dozen years, putting in about 50 hours a week.
Dure’s brother-in-law, Joseph Cantave, 53, stood on the front stoop of his house on Warren Street in Randolph hours after the shooting Tuesday and said he hoped Jean makes it.
“I feel real bad for the guy,” Cantave, an ironworker, said.
The shooting added to a streak of violence in Randolph that includes, most recently, a nightclub stabbing Sunday and an apparent drive-by shooting early Monday. No one was injured when someone shot at a first-floor apartment on West Street in which a man, a woman and a 6-year-old boy were sleeping.
On the same day of the workplace shooting, Randolph voters approved a $411,322 override for the police department, plus $5.48 million for the schools and $200,000 for the fire department. It’s the first time town voters have approved overrides of Proposition 21/2.