A shooting in the backyard of a home in east-central Fresno described as a “mass casualty” event on Sunday night left four men dead and six injured.
Fresno Police are currently investigating the shooting and searching for the suspects involved.
Fresno Police were called to a home near Fresno-Yosemite International Airport amid calls of a shooting in the backyard before 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Deputy Police Chief Michael Reid said that the shooting occurred amid a family gathering during the Los Angeles Rams-Chicago Bears football game.
Officers found three men down on the ground dead from gunshot wounds. Seven others gunshot wound victims were taken to Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center. One would later die at the hospital.
During a Monday morning press conference, Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall said that at least two suspects entered the home’s backyard via a side gate carrying semi-automatic handguns and opened fire on the 16 men standing outside in the backyard.
A total of 30 people – including women and children – were attending what was described as a “family gathering.”
All of the deceased victims were of Hmong heritage. They were identified by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office medical examiner as:
- Xyy Lee, 23
- Phia Vang, 31
- Kou Xiong, 38 (a resident of the home)
- Kalaxang Thao, 40
Lee was a well-known singer in the Hmong community, having produced three albums. He had a scheduled performance in Sacramento on Nov. 29.
Crime task-force created
Police issued a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the individuals involved in the shooting. Tipsters are recommended to contact CrimeStoppers at (559) 498-STOP (7867).
Federal agents from the FBI, ATF, and Department of Homeland Security were dispatched to aid in the investigation into the thus-far unidentified assailants.
In response to Sunday’s shooting, Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall announced the formation of a new Asian Gang Task Force within the Fresno Police Department.
It’s first order of business: finding the assailants from Sunday’s shooting.
While police have not confirmed that the shooting was gang-related, they are not currently ruling it out.
There is, however, a going concern that individuals may take retaliatory steps following Sunday’s violence.
“Anytime we have a major event the first concern we always have is retaliation,” Hall said during the press conference.
He reported that the department saw three incidents of Asian gang violence this month and 11 incidents since the start of 2019.
The shooting adds additional pressure and security concerns to the Hmong New Year Celebrations held in Fresno in late December.