Wis. 911 caller: 5, 6 gunshots as brothers killed in Menomonie
WAUSAU, Wis. - An almost-breathless 911 caller reported hearing five or six shots from a gunman who police say killed three brothers at a weekend birthday party in western Wisconsin before fatally shooting himself.
"They are not fireworks. I can hear somebody screaming outside and yelling," the woman told a dispatcher at the Dunn County Emergency Communications Center, which released recordings Tuesday of 12 emergency calls.
The shootings late Saturday in the Evergreen Isle Trailer Park in Menomonie killed brothers Toua Kong, 32, Siong Kong, 25, and Seng Kong, 13. Their cousin, Toua Xiong, 25, suffered a bullet wound but was released from a hospital Monday, a relative said.
The suspected shooter, 23-year-old Geu Tou Vang of St. Paul, Minn., died Monday at an area hospital.
Vang showed up at the party as a date of the brothers' sister and the shooting erupted within minutes of a brief argument outside regarding a bottle of alcohol, said Menomonie Police Chief Wayne Stolpa. Minnesota court records said Vang was a gang member and ordered to stay away from alcohol after beating a rival with a metal pipe in 2004.
"That is all the information we have," Stolpa said Tuesday. "It was very quick. It is unbelievable. It wasn't an all-day argument or anything like that."
Ka Lee, also a cousin, said the brothers' parents and 13 other siblings were grief-stricken.
"They are just coping," she said. "None of the deceased were in gangs. They didn't do drugs. Two of them had wives. Both of them had brand new babies within three months."
Lee, who was visiting her mother in the trailer complex during the shootings, said there wasn't any bad blood that the family knew about between the brothers and Vang.
"Everybody is just very puzzled about it," Lee said. "It was just a surprise, out of the blue."
The 911 calls came in over four minutes starting at 10:22 p.m. Saturday. A caller from the trailer next door said people outside were "freaking out." Another caller said he was outside and at least four people were shot. He said more than one ambulance was needed.
"I got the gun under my foot," he told the dispatcher, who told the caller to keep the weapon secured.
Stolpa said no one other than Vang had a gun, and investigators have not said how many shots were fired.
"The gun isn't stolen. But where he obtained the gun, we don't know," he said.
Vang, a member of the Hmong gang Purple Brothers, was ordered to stay away from alcohol and undergo anger management treatment while serving four years of probation in the beating of a rival gang member at a wedding in 2004, according to court records in Minnesota. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault charges and recently finished probation.
Pao Vang, executive director of the Hmong American Community Association in Menomonie, has said the brothers' parents have lived in Menomonie for seven or eight years. A trust fund for the family has been set up at People's State Bank in Menomonie, a city of about 14,000 people about 120 miles west of Wausau, Lee said.