Men Plead Not Guilty to Murder in Teens’ El Cajon House Party Shooting Deaths

Exterior of El Cajon Police Department headquarters.
Exterior of El Cajon Police Department headquarters. Courtesy of the department

Two men accused in a shooting that fatally wounded two teenagers last month at an El Cajon house party pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder charges.

Dan Thong Nalab, 24, and Bruce Dinh Luu, 21, both of San Diego, were taken into custody Saturday and Monday, respectively, in connection with the deaths of an 18-year-old man and 16-year-old boy, according to the El Cajon Police Department. The victims’ names have been withheld at the request of their families, ECPD Lt. Will Guerin said.

Along with murder, Nalab and Luu are charged with special circumstance allegations of committing multiple murders, meaning they could face either life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty, should prosecutors pursue it. They remain in custody without bail and are due back in court in January.

Just before midnight Oct. 28, police received reports of gunshots and a loud house party at a Mahogany Drive home. Paramedics took the teens to hospitals, where they were pronounced dead.

Homicide detectives eventually determined that at least two people had taken part in the shooting and had fled in a vehicle prior to the arrival of police, the lieutenant said. Investigators were able to identify the car with the help of an automated license-plate reader system, Guerin said.

Nalab was arrested by Chula Vista police on a firearms charge unrelated to the double homicide, and Luu was taken into custody in San Diego by El Cajon police, aided by the East County Regional Gang Task Force and U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force.

–City News Service