Car bomb explosion a 'professional hit'

By Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 4, 1996

The Associated Press
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Investigators from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Pima County Sheriff's Office look over the car Saturday in which Tucson developer Gary Triano was killed when it exploded in the La Poloma Country Club parking lot Friday night.


A UA alumnus was killed Friday night when a bomb planted in his car exploded in a Tucson country club parking lot, authorities said.

Gary Lee Triano, 52, died instantly when his 1989 Lincoln Town Car exploded at about 5:30 p.m. while parked at the La Paloma Country Club, 3800 E. Sunrise Drive.

Triano, a noted Tucson real estate developer, graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Arizona in 1968.

"It completely blew the middle of the car away," said Andrew Brooks, an agriculture senior who caddies at the club. "It was complete pandemonium."

Brooks, who heard the blast from an outside service area 200 yards away, called the explosion "incredible."

The blast, which emanated from beneath the car's right front passenger area, tore off the car's roof and scattered debris up to 200 yards away, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Friday. It also propelled the car's windshield into a swimming pool be hind the country club.

Authorities said Friday they do not have a motive for the killing.

Sgt. Michael O'Connor, Pima County Sheriff's spokesman, said yesterday the incident is still under investigation.

"We've had nothing new in that case at all over the past two days," he said.

Triano would have been 53 years old this Wednesday, Dupnik said.

Federal investigators said Sunday they will try to reconstruct a model of the car bomb.

"This was a fairly significant blast, one of the worst I've seen," said Steven Ott, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms supervisor in Phoenix.

Keisho Kudo, 25, was sitting in a car adjacent to Triano's at the time of the explosion.

Kudo said Triano got in the car, turned the key and it blew up.

"The next thing I know there was a big boom and broken glass was all over the right side of my body," he said.

Kudo was treated and released from a local hospital for a neck injury and cuts.

O'Connor said the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have been called in to investigate alongside bomb squads and homicide units from both the Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff's Office.

Triano, whose developments included industrial parks and strip malls, also had ties to local gambling operations and was reportedly trying to launch casinos abroad at the time of his death.

Triano was friends with Donald Trump and his wife, Marla Maples, who stayed with Triano in 1990 and attended a UA basketball game.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.