Fresno Police are attempting to identify and track down two suspects who reportedly entered a family’s backyard event, fired into a crowd and hit ten men, killing four of them.
Fortunately, most of the women and children present were inside the home and therefore unharmed. However, three men — all Asians between the ages of 25 and 38 — were pronounced dead on the scene. One more male victim died at the hospital during surgery and other survivors who were initially in critical condition are now expected to recover.
According to NBC News, Fresno Police Deputy Chief Michael Reid told reporters, “It’s very likely that it was targeted — we just don’t know why.” The suspects reportedly entered through an unlocked door leading to the family’s backyard, opening fire on the 16 people gathered there to watch a football game.
Police are investigating whether the tragic shooting could be connected to gang activity but could not confirm whether any of the victims had ties to local gangs.
The neighborhood where the incident occurred is said to be a quiet working-class area that is home to large Hispanic and Southeast Asian communities, especially those in the Hmong ethnic group.
“This party was described as being very peaceful, very quiet,” Fresno Police Deputy Chief Andrew Hall said. “It was not described as being out of control in any way. It was just a family event.”
#BREAKING MASSIVE police response in a neighborhood by Peach/Pine in Fresno. Streets clogged with cars/ambulances…a lot of people being put on stretchers. Waiting to learn more. pic.twitter.com/HUT03Cdryp
— Dennis Valera (@dennisreports) November 18, 2019
The four victims who were fatally shot were identified as Phia Vang, 31, Kalaxang Thao, 40, Kou Xiong, 38 who lived at the house where the shooting occurred, and well-known Hmong singer Xy Lee, 23, who was rushed to the hospital but later passed away during surgery. This information was confirmed by his family members through the Facebook group Hmong Talk. They wrote:
“We have received confirmation from his family member that Xy Lee , the famous Hmong singer was indeed one of the victim that was shot and killed at the family gathering. This is truly a heart breaking time for everyone involved. Thank you for all the beautiful music that you have have created . You will truly be miss! RIP!”
Heartbroken fans called the incident a “senseless tragedy” and remembered the legacy Lee leaves behind
“This is so sad, he was still so young. Rest in peace brother. And to everyone one else, who died, and was injured as well. My Prayers are with the family,” one user wrote.
Another comment read, “Your gone but never forgotten. You left some great music behind. Rest in paradise.”