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A former letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service admitted in court today that he was upset at his former supervisor for firing him and that he rammed the supervisor with a truck near the supervisor’s home in Albany two years ago. But Tian Yu Lu, a 63-year-old San Francisco man, said he only wanted to ruin his supervisor’s car and had no intention of physically harming the supervisor.
Testifying in his own defense in his premeditated attempted murder trial in Alameda County Superior Court, Lu said he was gunning his truck’s engine and aiming at his former boss’s car in the 900 block of Pierce Street shortly after 6 a.m. on May 1, 2010, when he suddenly spotted the man next to his car. Lu said, “Instinctively I moved my foot to the brake to try to stop and turn the truck away” from the supervisor but it was too late and he wound up striking the supervisor, who wound up on the hood of his truck.
Lu seemed to be confused when prosecutor Danny Lau asked him if he got out of his truck to see if his supervisor was OK, saying, “I don’t understand” and explaining that he just wanted to leave the scene because he was scared. Albany police found Lu near Golden Gate Fields, which is across the freeway from Pierce Street, a short time later and arrested him.
The supervisor suffered a broken arm and cuts and bruises but was released from the hospital the same day as the incident. Albany police said the supervisor had fired Lu for poor performance in October 2009 and he was attacked as he was walking to his car to drive to work. Police said Lu and the victim both worked at a post office branch in San Francisco and Lu had worked for the Postal Service for 15 years before he was fired.
Lu previously worked as a custodian for the San Francisco Unified School District. Asked by his attorney, Eric Safire, if it was ever his intent to harm his supervisor, Lu said, “No, just harm the vehicle.” Under cross-examination by Lau, Lu said his thinking was, “He take away my job, so I would take away his car.”Lu, who wears glasses and was dressed in a black suit, white shirt and a red tie, said, he wanted to “balance things out and save face.” He said, “I was in a depressed situation at the time” and hadn’t told anyone except his wife that he had lost his job.
Asked by Lau if he felt anger when he struck his supervisor with his truck, Lu said, “Not anger, I just wanted to do something.” When the prosecutor asked Lu if he had considered attacking his supervisor’s car with a baseball bat or some object other than a truck, Lu said, “No, that would only cause small damage.”Lu said he had thought about attacking his supervisor’s car for at least four months and had bought the truck, which was used, in March for the specific purpose of attacking his supervisor’s car.
He said he wanted to “find a truck strong enough to hurt his car” and chose a truck rather than a car because “a truck is stable and cheap.”Lu said he also paid $700 to buy a bumper guard to protect the truck in a collision. He said he paid in cash rather than with a credit card so the purchase couldn’t be traced.Lu faces life in prison if he’s convicted of premeditated attempted murder. He’s also charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
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