Pierre Haobsh has been arrested in connection with the murder of popular herbalist Dr. Weidong Henry Han and his family. According to Santa Barbara, California authorities, the suspected killer may have been a business associate.
Haobsh, 27, is suspected in the “diabolical premeditated” murders of 57-year-old Han, his wife Huijie “Jennie” Yu, and daughter Emily. The suspect was arrested at gunpoint in San Diego County within 32 hours after the victims were discovered.
As reported by the LA Times, police had a warrant for Pierre Haobsh and spotted his red Lexus on Friday. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said a loaded 9-millimeter handgun, along with some other property belonging to one of the victims, was found inside the car.
“This tragic case is a terrible blow to the Santa Barbara community and the medical community at large,” Brown said. “Dr. Han has an impressive background in Chinese herbal medicine and Western medicine.”
The alleged killer may have been involved in some kind of business deal with Han and investigators think the motivation for the triple murder was financial.
Dr. Han, the author of numerous Chinese medicine books, was a prominent practitioner of holistic medicine. He had owned and operated the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic with his wife and was a licensed acupuncturist.
On Wednesday morning, Han was supposed to attend a meeting in Los Angeles, but failed to show up. Two concerned colleagues went to Han’s multi-million dollar home and found the front door open.
They found it suspicious that no one was around, yet the family’s vehicles were parked in the driveway. At that point, the two decided the police needed to be called.
When officers arrived and searched inside the residence, three dead bodies were found wrapped in plastic and duct tape laying in the garage. Although autopsy reports are still pending, investigators at the scene determined the family had been shot.
Dr. Han, his wife and daughter were last seen alive the night before.
People who knew the acupuncturist and his family were devastated when they heard about the triple murder. While the clinic’s voicemail said the facility was closed, many patients showed up on Friday with flowers and personal notes.
Opened in 1991, the clinic provided traditional Chinese medical treatments such as acupuncture, acupressure and herbal blends from an on-site pharmacy.
Irma Russell was one of Dr. Han’s long-time patients and often came to him for back pain and chronic flu-like symptoms. She said the doctor’s methods were like magic when it came to alleviating her many health issues.
Ron Rakow suffers from a lung condition that makes it difficult for him to breathe. Dr. Han prepared a unique formula of herbs and tea for Rakow to drink daily. Since starting the treatment, his breathing has improved substantially.
“His life was solving insolvable problems,” Rakow said. “This is a sacred place where people come here broken and get fixed.”
Han’s daughter was a kindergartner at Foothill Elementary School. After her death, the school district was offering counseling services and support to any families whose children went to Foothill.
“Yesterday our community was confronted by the tragic loss of lives due to violence,” said Superintendent William Banning. “Words cannot begin to express the deep sadness that has overcome us.”
Dr. Weidong Henry Han graduated from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in 1982 and moved to the U.S. a few years later. According to the Community Center Oriental Medicine clinic, he was well-known for treating very problematic and complex diseases, including cancer.
Pierre Haobsh has no prior criminal record and the exact motive for the triple murders is still unknown. He lives in Oceanside, California, and is a U.S. citizen, but no other details have been released thus far.
[Photo by Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office/AP Images]