FRESNO (CBS SF) — At least two gunmen entered an unlocked backyard gate, walked into a “very peaceful, quiet family gathering” Sunday and opened fire in a targeted attack that left four men dead and 10 others wounded, authorities said describing the mass slaying.
Officials said all the victims were members of the Fresno-area’s large Hmong community. The coroner’s office released four deceased victims names — Xy Lee, a famous local Hmong singer, 31-year-old Phia Vang, 38-year-old Kou Xiong and 40-year-old Kalaxang Thao. All the men are from Fresno.
Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall said many of the victims may have taken part in an altercation in the days prior to the shooting. Hall said none of the victims had gang affiliations, but said his department was putting together a team knowledgeable with Asian gang activity to take part in the investigation.
“We seeing if there was a connection between the two (the shooting and the altercation),” the police chief said. “We’re not saying there was a connection, but it’s one of the leads were are following up on.”
Fresno Mass Shooting – Full Police Press Conference:
Hall said there were 16 males gathered in the backyard, 10 of them were hit by gun fire. The gunmen used semi-automatic pistols and fled the scene on foot.
“Fortunately, the children were inside the home,” he said. “They were not the intended victims.”
Police began getting 911 calls around 7:48 p.m. reporting numerous gunshot victims at a home in Fresno’s southeast neighborhood on East Lamona Ave. Arriving officers encountered a gruesome scene with three dead victims in the backyard and other wounded victims on the ground.
“It was a horrific scene,” Hall said.
It was Southeast Neighborhood Police Commander Captain Anthony Martinez’s officers who responded to the 911 calls.
“What took place last night just as it shocked my officers that arrived there, has shocked that whole neighborhood,” he said.
Martinez said there was a large police presence in the neighborhood Monday to prevent any acts of retaliation in the wake of Sunday night’s shooting.
“This an emergency now in this neighborhood and we are doing all we can to cause things down,” he said. “We will be going door to door on Lamona and other blocks and some of the other blocks and speaking with everyone, letting them know we are here for them.”
All of the victims are Asian males aged 25-30, police said. Two remained hospitalized at the Community Regional Medical Center Monday with the other four being treated and released.
No suspect information was released as of Sunday evening. An increase police presence in the neighborhood was noticeable Monday morning.
Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives field office in San Francisco would be on the scene Monday morning, aiding in the investigation as were FBI agents and Homeland Security investigators.
Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call Fresno PD at 559-621-7000.