UPDATE, NOV. 18, 2:25 P.M.: The Fresno Police Department this afternoon confirmed that 23-year-old Xy Lee was among the deceased along with: Phia Vang, 31, of Fresno; Kalaxang Thao, 40, of Fresno; and Kou Xiong, 38, whose home was the scene of the shootings.
At a press conference today, Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall said at least two gunmen entered an unlocked backyard gate and walked into a “very peaceful, quiet family gathering” before firing at and hitting 10 of the 16 men present with gunfire from automatic pistols. Women and children, none of whom were injured, made up the rest of the approximately 35 people present.
None of the victims had gang affiliations, but a team knowledgeable with Asian gang activity is helping in the investigation, according to Hall.
The police chief added that one lead being followed up on concerns an altercation in the days before the shooting that at least some of the victims may have been a part of.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 18, 11:19 A.M.: A famous Hmong singer from Long Beach was among the four dead in a backyard shooting in Fresno Sunday night, according to a social media site.
“We have received confirmation from his family member that Xy Lee, the famous Hmong singer, was indeed one of the victims that was shot and killed at the family gathering,” states a post on the Hmong Talk Facebook page. “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!”
JN Vang, another Hmong singer and close friend of Lee’s, was among six people wounded in the shooting and, at last word, he was undergoing surgery, Hmong Talk reports in a separate post.
About 35 people, including children, were watching football around 8 p.m. Sunday in the backyard of a home on East Lamona Avenue, near Caesar Avenue, where an unknown gunman or gunmen sneaked in, opened fire and fled, according to the Fresno Police Department.
A shooter or shooters have not been captured, and a motive for the incident is unknown, add police, who have not officially confirmed the identities of victims pending notification of next of kin. All were Asian men between the ages of 25 and 35, police did say.
Lee is originally from Samnua, Houaphan, Laos, but was residing in Long Beach, according to his Facebook page.
He had over 90,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, which he listed as his occupation, and cumulatively, his videos have been watched more than 17 million times, reports Heavy.com.
“The Hmong Community has lost a talented musician…May You Rest In Peace Xy Lee, your music will live on,” a fan wrote on the Hmong Talk page.
“This is senseless violence,” Michael Reed, a deputy chief of the Fresno Police Department, said during a press conference after the shooting. “We’re going to do everything we can to find out who the perpetrators are and bring them to justice.”
He added, “Thank God that no kids were hurt because there were several kids and females that were in attendance at this party.”
“After a week of horrific shootings in California, this time tragedy struck in my hometown,” said Nicole Webb, a volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Our hearts ache for those shot and killed, as well as those wounded in this horrific act of violence. People should be free to gather with friends and family without the fear of being shot, and this shooting is another tragic reminder that we must do more to end gun violence in all its forms.”
Everytown for Gun Safety says the Fresno incident was at least the 28th mass shooting this year and the 222nd mass shooting since January 2009. Four people, including three children, were also shot and killed at a San Diego home on Saturday, and Thursday morning’s Saugus High School shooting left three students dead, including the presumed shooter, and three more wounded.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.