Two cousins were charged Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a man at a crowded festival in St. Paul's Como Park over the weekend that appears linked to gang rivalry.
Nougai Xiong, 27, of St. Paul, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree murder in the death of Jacky G. Vue, 19, of St. Paul. Yang H. Xiong, 28, of La Crosse, Wis., was charged with aiding and abetting the shooting Sunday afternoon.
The gunfire took place near concession stands and the swimming pool at the two-day Hmong Freedom Festival, which draws tens of thousands of people from around the world.
The suspects were arrested shortly after the incident, and a gun was recovered under a nearby tree, police said.
According to the charges, the gunfire, which erupted after young men were fighting with umbrellas, sent patrons scrambling for cover.
Officers staffing the festival immediately encountered "Asian gang members … and detained them," the court filing continued.
Police found Vue on the ground behind a vendor's tent, with bullet wounds to the chest and right leg, according to the criminal complaints. He was declared dead at Regions Hospital about an hour later.
One gang member told an officer the fight occurred because the cousins were Asian Crips and his group were Oroville Mono Boys.
Officers in a golf cart quickly caught up to the cousins. Nougai Xiong, the suspected shooter, "was sweating profusely, as if he had just finished running a marathon," the charges read. He said someone struck him from behind and he was fleeing with his cousin.
Yang Xiong also told police someone hit him from behind and asked his gang affiliation. He denied being in a gang but said he recognized some of the combatants from a confrontation about two months earlier at a party in Wausau, Wis.
Nougai Xiong also denied being in a gang, and said he didn't bring a gun to the festival and was unaware of the shooting, the complaint said.
Police spokesman Steve Linders said police work "closely with the organizers in the months and weeks prior to the event to make sure we're doing everything possible to make it as safe as possible."
There were 23 off-duty police officers at the festival, Linders said. Also, security guards and volunteers checked festivalgoers' bags at the entrances.
A day earlier at the 38th annual festival, a man walking outside the festival was assaulted by five men who jumped out of two cars. The murder charges made no mention of that incident.