Vivian Nguyen's friends and classmates described her as happy, energetic and optimistic. We spoke with them in front of a growing collection of flowers, plants, balloons, notes, and photos of her.
Vivian will forever be 12, the victim of, as they say, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was a passenger in her family's Toyota mini van, when a suspect racing away from police rammed into them, killing Vivian, injuring her mother and brother, and raising questions again about the wisdom of police chasing suspects at high speeds, particularly through a residential area like the one in Westminster in Orange County where this happened Thursday evening.
Westminster Police Officer Rachel Archambault said she understands the questions, calls this a terrible tragedy, but says the suspect was a danger to the public, he'd already hit a police car, and simply stopping and letting him get away was not a realistic option. She notes the whole pursuit was less than 30 seconds, to fast she insists to come up with a back up plan. She said the whole Police Department is expressing their condolences. Nice, but perhaps a small consolation to the Nguyen family, who are as you might imagine grief stricken over the loss of their little girl. The suspect, who was in court today, is an ex-con who was wanted on new weapons and drug charges. He no doubt did not want to go back to prison which is why he didn't' stop when police tried to pull him over. Now he's looking at 35 years to life, facing a new murder charge.