HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — A Buddhist monk found suffering from a fatal wound while kneeling at an altar was likely struck by a bullet fired from outside the North Carolina temple, authorities said Tuesday.
High Point police responded to the temple around 8 p.m. Saturday after another monk discovered Tam Dinh Tran kneeling in a praying position with blood coming out of his nose, the department said in a statement.
The monk reported that he thought Tran was suffering from a medical condition, but first responders determined Tran had a traumatic injury resembling a puncture wound to his right side, the agency said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
There were no other apparent injuries to Tran and no signs of violence at the temple, according to investigators.
During a search, detectives discovered what appeared to be two bullet holes to the exterior of the building and a bullet lodged in a wall, officials said. Detectives also found two handgun bullet casings near the road, which were sent for analysis, according to the statement.
Investigators said they think bullets were fired from or near the road by the temple, traveled through the wall and struck Tran.
The Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday an X-ray showed a “projectile” inside Tran’s chest. Official autopsy results were still pending.
The department said it had “no information indicating the temple or Tran were specifically targeted.” High Point is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Winston-Salem.
Authorities asked anyone with information to contact police.