Man pumping gas at a Lehigh County Wawa is shot and killed

The district attorney said the shooter fled on foot and then took his own life.

  • Michael Rubinkam/Associated Press

(Upper Macungie Twp.) — A man opened fire at a convenience store in Pennsylvania early Wednesday, apparently at random, killing a truck driver who was pumping gas and wounding another man before taking his own life, officials said.

The man had first shot at a car on a highway several miles away before heading to the convenience store around 4:45 a.m., according to Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin. The woman in the car told authorities she didn’t realize her car had been hit with a bullet until she stopped at a Wawa store in Upper Macungie Township, outside Allentown. She was uninjured.

The shooter — who had driven to the same store — pulled up next to a Jeep in the parking lot and shot and wounded the driver, Martin said. He then shot and killed the truck driver before fleeing on foot and fatally shooting himself in the parking lot of a day care center about a quarter-mile away, Martin said. The day care was closed at the time.

Authorities said there was no apparent motive, nor any connection between the shooter and the victims. Martin said the shootings appeared to be “indiscriminate” and unrelated. Authorities believe the shooter and the woman he initially shot at wound up at the same Wawa by chance because the shooter had passed her on the highway.

A coroner identified the shooter as Za Uk Lian, 45, of South Whitehall Township. The coroner identified the truck driver as Ramon Ramirez, 31, of Allentown.

Crime investigators work the scene at a Wawa convenience store and gas station in Breinigsville, Pa., Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Crime investigators work the scene at a Wawa convenience store and gas station in Breinigsville, Pa., Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

Ramirez had driven for A. Duie Pyle since November 2019 and was married with three children, according to Pete Dannecker, a vice president at the family-owned company. Ramirez was likely making a quick pit stop before picking up a trailer for the day, he said.

“People who work with him said he was a great guy, did a great job, everybody liked him,” Dannecker said. “The driver had nothing to do with this, just got caught up in somebody else’s issues.”

The injuries to the man in the Jeep were not considered life-threatening, Martin said. He was in stable condition after surgery.

The shootings drew a large police presence. Nearby businesses and a school closed.

Officials said a Wawa employee who was taking out the trash heard the gunshots, ushered two customers inside the store and locked the door.

A spokesperson said Wawa was not making the employee available for interviews but added “we are truly grateful for his efforts to protect customers and fellow associates.”

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