A man was shot and killed Sunday afternoon in the midst of a crowded festival at Como Regional Park in St. Paul.
The shooting took place near concession stands and the Como Park swimming pool during the Hmong Freedom Festival.
Skylar Suwannakood, 17, said he heard four or five shots and then saw several young men in their teens or 20s running from the area.
Suwannakood’s family runs the Lao Street Food booth nearest the shooting, selling bamboo sticky rice, sugar cane juice and coconut pancakes.
“By the second shot, everyone noticed that it was a gun so they took off running,” said his sister, Savannah Suwannakood, 12.
The man was shot shortly after 4:30 p.m. He was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where he died, police spokesman Steve Linders said.
No one had been arrested as of Sunday evening. After the shooting, four food booths near the pool — which was closed all day — were blocked off behind yellow tape.
Davina Suwannakood, Skylar and Savannah’s mother, said customers returned after things calmed down.
“I think the ones who were hurt the most [in lost business] were the ones over there,” she said, pointing to the four empty booths.
Chue Lee arrived just after the shots were fired. Though there are sometimes fights at the annual event, he said, there has never been gun violence before. “It felt pretty normal, regardless of the incident, which is odd,” Lee said.
The event draws tens of thousands of people from around the world.
Peter Pha, chairman of United Hmong Family’s board of trustees, had no comment.