DUBLIN, Calif. (KRON) — A coroner identified two Dublin homicide victims who were allegedly murdered by an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy.
Benison Tran, 57, and his 42-year-old wife, Maria Tran, were slain inside their home after the deputy broke into their house in the middle of the night and shot them on Wednesday, according to investigators.
Their accused killer, deputy Devin Williams Jr., was arrested following a 12-hour manhunt that stretched 160 miles across California. As of Thursday afternoon, Williams was locked in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with no bail.
It’s the same jail where Williams worked a night shift on Tuesday. The deputy finished his shift at the jail, drove to the married couple’s house on Colebrook Lane, and opened fire on the Trans, according to investigators.
Williams, 24, of Stockton, knew his victims, however, Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Kelly did not disclose exactly how he knew them.
“This was a very bizarre chain of events. Our agency is in shock. This is not what we’re about. We had no idea that this could happen. Mr. Williams grew up in a very affluent home, was well loved, graduated from college with honors. He was really a remarkable young person. How we got here today … it will be something we will be looking at,” Kelly said.
Benison Tran and Maria Tran’s child was home at the time of the shooting. An eyewitness inside the house identified Williams as the killer and told 911 dispatchers that he fled in a car.
The Dublin Police Department described the deputy as “armed and dangerous” while he was on the run.
Williams made it 160 miles south to Coalinga, Calif., before Dublin Police Chief Garrett Holmes was able to convince the deputy to turn himself in.
Police Chief Holmes spoke directly with Williams over the phone and convinced him to surrender without hurting himself or anyone else. The deputy disarmed himself before California Highway Patrol officers found him at noon Wednesday. Williams was arrested on charges of first-degree murder and burglary.
“Somewhere in the last several months of his life, some significant events happened that led up to this moment. A lot of those events went undiscovered and undisclosed, and we’re going to be looking into that,” Kelly told KRON4.
Lt. Kelly said the deputy’s co-workers in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office saw no signs that Williams had been struggling mentally, nor that he was prone to snap.
On Tuesday, Williams worked a full shift at the county courthouse in Oakland, and picked up an overtime shift at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. The deputy’s jail shift ended at 11 p.m. Less than two hours later, at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, Williams broke into the married couple’s home and shot them to death, according to the Dublin Police Department.
Maria Tran was a nurse at John George Psychiatric Hospital in San Leandro.
A spokesperson for the hospital wrote to KRON4, “We have learned that one of our beloved John George Psychiatric Hospital nurses, Maria Tran, was tragically killed early Wednesday morning. Our hearts go out to the family, friends, JGPH staff, and especially to those who worked closely with Maria. She was a brilliant and excellent nurse, who cared deeply for those we serve.”
The murdered husband worked nearly three decades for the City of Santa Clara as a civil engineer. He recently retired.
The city’s spokesperson issued a statement to KRON4 writing, “As a City of Santa Clara family, we are shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the loss of our long-time friend and former colleague, Benison Tran, and his wife yesterday. Benison was employed with the City for nearly 29 years. He served in the positions of Civil Engineer II and Senior Engineer (Civil) in the Public Works Department. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones.”
The deputy’s first court appearance is slated for Friday morning in the East County Hall of Justice.