Suspect arrested in killing of SF State student Justin Valdez

A 30-year-old man was arrested outside his Oceanview home Tuesday, in connection to the shooting death of SF State student Justin Valdez.

Valdez, a 20-year-old SF State sophomore, was shot in the back of the head and killed as he got off the M-Oceanview train at Randolph and Bright Streets in Ingleside at about 9:50 p.m. Monday night. The following day Nikhom Thephakaysone, the suspected assailant, was arrested on murder charges, according to police.

Muni surveillance cameras captured Thephakysone on the same train as Valdez before the murder. Police describe the incident to be “random and unprovoked” and police are unsure of Thephakaysone’s motives as they don’t think the two knew each other.

“This is truly a tragedy for Justin’s friends and family, and for the entire University community,” SF State President Leslie E. Wong said. “I have reached out to Justin’s family to offer our heartfelt concern and to assure them that we stand ready to offer support and assistance at this difficult time.”

Valdez was a member of the men’s water polo team and Dragon Boating Club at SF State and was involved with environmental activities on campus.

Eco Students is hosting a candle light vigil for Valdez at 7 p.m. Thursday night on top of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. There will also be another vigil hosted at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Cesar Chavez Student Center, Friday at the same time that a vigil is being hosted in Garden Grove.

Students in need of support during this time are encouraged to seek counseling offered by the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Contact (415) 338-2208 to set up an appointment.

The Xpress will continue to follow the story and provide updates as they become available.