St. Paul cops reach out to Hmong after killing

St. Paul police chief and Hmong legislator are looking for ways to prevent future violence after recent shootings.

For a second time in two months, a young Hmong man has been killed in St. Paul, prompting Police Chief John Harrington and state Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St. Paul, to agree Monday to help find ways to prevent future violence.

Key to the effort, the two say, is community involvement, particularly that of youth workers, according to Moua. She spoke after being briefed by the chief Monday about a fatal drive-by shooting early Sunday.

Investigators continue to seek suspects and a motive in the death of Chai Moua, 23, of St. Paul, who was killed while in his car in the 1200 block of Beech Street.

The drive-by shooting followed the savage beating death of Tai Yang, 20, outside the Moonlight Magic bar in the Frogtown area on May 10.

Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Schnell said that because three of the city's seven homicides this year involve Hmong victims, the chief was reaching out to community leaders to show "we care" and to engage them in a discussion to determine: "What does this mean?"

Schnell added: "This has to be more than just a law enforcement response."

Moua, who represents the East Side area where Sunday's shooting occurred, said her discussion with the chief suggested there was "no notable pattern" in this year's incidents. But she was agreeable, she said, to the idea of convening a meeting between police and community leaders.

The gathering likely would occur sometime after this weekend's Hmong sports festival, Moua said, and would be on a modest scale -- not a town-hall-type meeting.

"This is a really good opportunity to open the lines of communication," she said.

According to police, the latest victim, Chai Moua, was killed about 2 a.m. Sunday after parking his car on Beech Street. Another car pulled up alongside Moua's vehicle, police said, and an occupant fired multiple shots.

According to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Moua had two felony convictions, the more recent involving criminal sexual conduct with a 14-year-old girl.

Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109

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