On Wednesday night, Fullerton police arrested Chuyen Vo, 51, at his residence in Huntington Beach.
The suspect, who goes by the first name Chris, works in the extended education division where Chan was also employed — but it’s unclear how closely they had worked together.
“Of all the individuals that I talked to in that division, there didn’t seem to be any concerns at all that anybody would ever hurt Steve at all,” CSUF spokeswoman Ellen Treanor told KTLA. “Not a single person said there were problems.”
She added, “He wasn’t known as a difficult boss. He was known as a very thoughtful man, very by-the book, a man of few words.”
Ahead of Vo’s arrest, Fullerton police released a composite sketch of a suspect who sought and stabbed Chan.
A CCTV footage showed the suspect running near the crime scene and leaving in a black sedan, presumed to be a newer BMW X6.
Fullerton Police Chief Robert Dunn said that authorities are working to understand the motive behind the crime.
“Fullerton police detectives believe based on their investigation that Vo acted alone during the planning and commission of this murder,” he said.
Police, who described the crime as a “targeted” attack, believe that Vo could be linked through DNA evidence. A backpack containing an “incendiary device” and tools such as zip ties, wigs, disguise materials and a knife not used in the stabbing was found underneath Chan’s car.
“We are confident that the backpack did belong to the suspect,” Lt. Jon Radus said, according to NBC News. “That backpack obviously did play a role in our investigation, a significant role.”
He added, “We do believe that the suspect injured one or both of his hands. We know that there is blood left at the scene by the suspect, as well as in the video you can see he’s either covering his hand or there appears to be blood on his hand.”
Chan served as the university’s director of budget and finance as well as student services for university extended education from 2009 until his retirement in 2017. He returned to work as a special consultant earlier this year.
“We as a Titan family have suffered a devastating tragedy that’s hit close to home,” President Framroze Virjee said at a news conference on Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Our hearts are with Steven Chan and with his family and everyone in the campus community.”