Arraignment held for suspect in deadly Holyoke Mall shooting

The suspect accused in a deadly shooting at the Holyoke Mall on Saturday appeared in court on Monday.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 11:52 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2023 at 6:20 PM EST
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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The suspect in a deadly shooting at the Holyoke Mall over the weekend appeared before a judge Monday morning.

Kenneth Santana-Rodriguez pleaded not guilty Monday to murder charges.

Western Mass News obtained court documents that detail how the suspect allegedly got into a fight with his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend when he took out his gun. Court paperwork states the victim who died in this case was working at the nail salon where the shooting took place.

Video shared on social media, taken from the Cajun Café in the mall, showed people frantically running around the mall, running away from the sound of gunshots fired.

The suspect accused in a deadly shooting at the Holyoke Mall on Saturday appeared in court on Monday.

Another video, obtained by Western Mass News, showed the heavy police presence surrounding a hair and nail salon inside the mall. Police say around 7 p.m. Saturday, they received numerous calls of an active shooter at the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside.

Police said that around 7 p.m. Saturday evening, they were called to the Holyoke Mall for reports of an active shooter.

33-year-old Trung Tran, of West Springfield was shot and killed inside his place of work.

Western Mass News obtained court documents that further detail the events that unfolded that night.

When police arrived on scene, they said that shoppers pointed to the Touch of Beauty Hair and Nail Salon inside the mall, saying the shooter was in there wearing a red sweatshirt.

That was when they found the 23-year-old suspect, later identified as Kenneth Santana-Rodriguez. Police arrested him and recovered a gun on his left side in a holster.

The police report said that Santana-Rodriguez told that police a man walked into the nail salon where he and his girlfriend were getting pedicures. The man began to argue with his girlfriend. Santana-Rodriguez told police that he believed the man was his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.

Santana-Rodriguez also told police that the man flashed his gun in his waistband and said, quote, “You know what’s about to happen.”

Then, Santana-Rodriguez told police, “It was him or me.” Police reported that Santana-Rodriguez told them, “It was me, I shot,” when they found him in the back of the salon.

Witnesses told police Santana-Rodriguez pointed his gun at the man he was fighting with and fired it off at least twice. One witness said that Tran was shot as he tried to get out of the way of the two men.

According to the documents, Tran was providing nail services to Santana-Rodriguez’s girlfriend when the fight began. Tran was pronounced dead on scene.

Santana-Rodriguez has been charged with murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He appeared in Holyoke District Court on Monday for his arraignment. The judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and held him without the right to bail.

As Santana-Rodriguez walked out of the courtroom in handcuffs, he blew a kiss to the back side of the courtroom, in the direction of a group of people, who were very emotional throughout the hearing.

Santana-Rodriguez is due back in court on February 27th.