A longtime St. Paul bar owner was killed after telling a patron he couldn’t continue playing pool after closing time and refusing to refund $20 the man had paid to play, according to criminal charges filed against two men Tuesday.
Yia Her, 26, of Oakdale, and his brother-in-law Cheng Vang, 22, of Minneapolis, were both charged with second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder in the shooting that killed Vone Moua, 45, early Sunday at Malina’s Sports Bar. Two other people were injured in the shooting.
Her, the angry pool player, was arrested over the weekend. Tuesday night, police were still looking for Vang, whom authorities allege is the one who shot Moua.
Moua, who was also a social worker, had owned the bar at 691 N. Dale St. for at least 10 years with his wife.
According to the complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court:
About 2:15 a.m., Her was told that he had to quit playing pool and leave because the bar was closed. Her complained to Moua that he had already paid to play the game.
In response, Moua challenged Her to a game. If Her won, he could stay another two hours. If Her lost, he had to leave. But Her left the bar.
A little later, Her pounded on the locked door. Moua gave a waitress permission to let in him and Vang. Her later told police that he called Vang, who had been playing pool with Her earlier, and told him to bring a gun, which Her said was to be used to scare Moua into giving his money back.
After exchanging some words, Moua and Her got into a shoving match that other bar employees and customers joined as they pushed Her to the door. Witnesses said Vang shot Moua in the head, then shot and grazed the neck of the bar’s disc jockey who had intervened and grabbed at the weapon. Vang also shot another man, one of Moua’s friends, in his side under his left armpit as he also tried to step in before Her and Vang fled in a car.
Moua’s wife, who had come to the bar with her children to pick Moua up, witnessed the shooting and tended to Moua’s head wound before he was transported to Regions Hospital where he died.
Police on Sunday tracked Her to the 300 block of Toronto Street. Her, holding a baby, answered the door and told police he knew why they were there. Officers saw a bloodstained shirt on a pile of clothing in the house.
Her told police he paid $20 to play pool for two hours and was refused a refund when he had to leave. Her said that when he and Vang were let back into the bar, Moua pushed and choked him. Her said he was pushed against the door and that several people “wrestled them down.” Her said he did not see the shooting because Vang was behind him. He heard gunshots and saw Moua fall to the ground.
The Frogtown Neighborhood Association was to recognize Moua at its community party Tuesday and collect donations for his family.