By TERENCE CHEA and OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ
The Associated Press
FRESNO — A close-knit Hmong community was in shock after gunmen burst into a California backyard gathering and shot 10 men, killing four.
“We are right now just trying to figure out what to do, what are the next steps. How do we heal, how do we know what’s going on,” said Bobby Bliatout, a community leader.
The attack on Nov. 17 killed Xy Lee, a singer and musician whose videos on YouTube have been viewed millions of times. Also killed were Phia Vang, 31; Kou Xiong, 38; and Kalaxang Thao, 40, all of Fresno, according to the coroner’s office. Three others remained hospitalized in serious condition.
No motive or suspects were identified by police.
“Our community is in mourning, and we still don’t know what’s going on, or who are the suspects,” said Pao Yang, CEO of the Fresno Center, a Hmong community group.
The Hmong are an ethnic group from Southeast Asia. Many fled after fighting alongside the United States during the Vietnam War.
The gunmen targeted a house where about 16 men had gathered outside to watch football on television, police said.
At least two men armed with semi-automatic handguns walked through a side gate and without a word began firing randomly into the crowd before fleeing in the darkness, Police Chief Andrew Hall said.
No one reported getting a good look at them. Witnesses saw only flashes when the pistols were fired, Hall said.
Police were investigating whether the shooting was connected to a recent “disturbance” involving some of the people at the party, Hall said. He did not describe the incident other than to say it occurred within the last week.
While police hadn’t found any gang connections to the victims, Hall also announced the establishment of an Asian gang task force because of concerns about the possibility of retaliation or more violence ahead of the Hmong New Year, which is celebrated the week after Christmas and draws thousands to Fresno.