SAN JOSE -- Three friends eating at a Vietnamese restaurant in East San Jose were assailed by a volley of bullets fired from the shadows late Monday, killing one patron and wounding the other two in what police described as a random attack.

The victims were at the Hoang Hon restaurant on Alum Rock Avenue near James Lick High School when someone from outside opened fire on the eatery around 10 p.m., police said.

All three men were taken to a hospital, where one of the victims died early Tuesday. His identity was not immediately released. The other two men are expected to survive.

A motive is still being sought, but police do not believe the men were specifically targeted.

Alum Rock Avenue between Capitol Avenue and White Road in San Jose was blocked off by police after a Monday night triple shooting that left one victim in
Alum Rock Avenue between Capitol Avenue and White Road in San Jose was blocked off by police after a Monday night triple shooting that left one victim in critical condition.(Eric Kurhi/Staff)

"It seems like a total random act of violence," said Officer Albert Morales, a police spokesman.

For much of Tuesday, police tape was strewn in the vicinity of the restaurant, housed in a strip mall between Capitol Avenue and White Road across the street from San Jose Fire Station No. 2. A police supervisor overseeing the crime scene Tuesday morning said no suspicious activity preceded the violent episode.

"Nothing indicates any disturbance inside or outside the restaurant," Sgt. Fabrice Bellini said.

Monday's slaying marked the city's 31st homicide of the year and its first since Aug. 3. The city remains on pace to surpass last year's homicide tally of 46, though the rate has slowed since a spate of killings through the middle of June that elicited fears of a bloody summer.

A summer gang crackdown instituted by San Jose police, coupled with a push of city intervention and recreation programs, appears to have quelled the surge in violence that has historically dovetailed with the season.

The rising homicide rate runs counter to a drop in overall violent crime and a decrease in gang-related violence, the latter being partly due to the crackdown staffed by officers working overtime details in known gang hot spots in the city. August also saw the formation of the Gang Suppression Unit, a team dedicated to gang issues in the spirit of the defunct Violent Crimes Enforcement Team that fell victim to budget cuts three years ago.

Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him at Twitter.com/MarkMGomez. Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.


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