Two men charged in shooting during Como Park festival

St. Paul Police Department spokesman Steve Linders
St. Paul Police Department spokesman Steve Linders briefs the media Sunday night, July 1, 2018, on a fatal shooting that took place at Como Regional Park.
Peter Cox | MPR News

Two men were charged Tuesday in the shooting death of a 19-year-old man last weekend at a packed St. Paul festival.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office charged 27-year-old Nougai Xiong of St. Paul with two counts of second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Jacky Ger Vue.

Also, Yang Houa Xiong, a 28-year-old from LaCrosse, Wis. was charged with aiding Nougai Xiong.

According to the criminal complaint, Nougai Xiong opened fired Sunday afternoon at the crowded Hmong International Freedom Festival at park's McMurray Fields, near the Como Park pool. He allegedly shot Vue in the chest and leg. Vue was transported to Regions Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Witness accounts led police to the two men, and they were arrested at the park.

Shooting scene
Police tape blocks access to the scene of a fatal shooting that took place at the 38th annual Hmong International Freedom Festival in Como Regional Park on Sunday afternoon, July 1, 2018.
Courtesy St. Paul Police Department

Both Xiongs are identified as cousins in the criminal complaint. Yang Xiong told police that Vue and another man attacked him and his cousin with umbrellas and threatened to kill them. His cousin told investigators that Nougai Xiong then took out his gun and shot Vue. After they ran away, prosecutors say Nougai Xiong took off his blue shirt and black jacket, handing them to his cousin to avoid being identified.

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Nougai Xiong denied he shot Vue, telling police he'd only been attacked from behind with an umbrella. He said he didn't have a gun and didn't hear any gunshots. Yang Xiong told police that Nougai Xiong hid the weapon behind a pine tree. He escorted police to the location in the park and the weapon was recovered, according to the criminal complaint.

The annual festival attracts 39,000 people. St. Paul police spokesperson Steve Linders described the incident Sunday night as "really unfortunate that one person or a small group of people could ruin such a great event."

"Officers dealt with a very chaotic scene. They secured the area, and obviously because there were so many people there, there were a lot of witnesses," Linders said.

Linders added he was unaware of a similar incident at the longstanding festival.

Both Xiongs will appear in Ramsey County Court Tuesday.