clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Warrant: Suspect in triple murder had been diagnosed as 'paranoid schizophrenic'

Alexander Hung Tran, 32, is charged with three counts of aggravated murder. Police say he shot and killed three people inside his Salt Lake home on Sept. 18, 2015. A newly-released search warrant indicates Tran was diagnosed over the summer as "paranoid s
Alexander Hung Tran, 32, is charged with three counts of aggravated murder. Police say he shot and killed three people inside his Salt Lake home on Sept. 18, 2015. A newly-released search warrant indicates Tran was diagnosed over the summer as "paranoid schizophrenic."
Salt Lake County Jail

SALT LAKE CITY — A man charged with murdering three people inside a house he rented to them had been diagnosed as “paranoid schizophrenic” over the summer, according to a newly unsealed search warrant affidavit.

Alexander Hung Tran, 32, was charged earlier this month in 3rd District Court with three counts of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the deaths of Heike Poike, 50; Poike's 2-month-old granddaughter, Lyrik Poike; and Dakota Smith, 28.

Prosecutors say all three were shot multiple times.

As Salt Lake police continue to gather information about the case, investigators noted in a search warrant that a bottle of Risperidone was found in Tran's house, 639 N. Sir Phillip Drive (1990 West).

"Risperidone is listed on drugs.com as an 'antipsychotic medication.' In an interview with Tran's parents, as a normal course of the investigation into Tran’s personal history, it was learned that Tran had been admitted to University Neuropsychiatric Institute on June 7, 2015, and released on July 7, 2015. According to Tran’s mother … Tran was diagnosed as 'paranoid schizophrenic' and prescribed Risperidone, Wellbutrin, Haldol, Zyprexa and Trazadone," the officer wrote in the affidavit.

The warrant was to find out if Tran was indeed taking those medications, in what dosages, and if he got refills.

Poike rented the upstairs area of Tran's home. According to charging documents, Tran's mother told police she had purchased the home for her son. Four days before the killings, Tran told his mother that people were living upstairs.

"(The mother) indicated she did not want other people in the house, and Tran stated the people would not leave," the charges state. "(The mother) instructed Tran to tell the people to go and stated she would start the eviction process."

Tran called his mother again on the day of the shooting and told her "the people upstairs were gone."

Salt Lake police arrived at the home later that afternoon when Heike Poike didn't pick up her 8-year-old grandson from school. Officers were met by Tran who told them, "I'm putting down the gun," according to the charges.

"If I think it's my mom's fault and she should be here instead, is there anything I can do?" he allegedly asked the officers. "She made me do it. I'm not saying I didn't do it."

Police were also called to Tran's house on June 7 on a "possible psychotic problem." Tran's stepfather called police that day to report that Tran had acting strangely for a couple of days.

"Today, he took apart a pair of scissors, held the pieces in his hands and started screaming he was Edward Scissorhands. He also brandished several kitchen knives in an alarming manner," according to a Salt Lake police report.

"His mother and stepfather appeared to be extremely frightened of Alex and refused to go back inside the house," the responding officer wrote.

The stepfather and mother told police that he "does not have a history of mental issues or drug problems," according to the police report taken just before Tran was admitted to the psychiatric unit.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam