Thursday, July 2, 2009
- Chai Moua, 23, was gunned down in what St. Paul Police call a drive by shooting on Beech Street around 2 a.m. June 28, 2009.
St. Paul Police are reaching out to the Hmong community to help solve a growing number of homicides in the city
So far this year St. Paul has had seven homicides. St. Paul typically averages 20 homicides a year. More than a third of the murders are usually domestic in nature.
In 2009, only one of the city's seven homicides is domestic. Three of the seven victims in 2009 have been from the Hmong community.
The most recent victim was 23-year-old Chai Moua who was gunned down in what police call a drive by shooting on Beech Street around 2 a.m. Sunday.
"I ran to the car, I was holding him. I still have his blood on here," said Chai Moua's brother Choj Moua.
Choj Moua said he will never forget the last few moments of his younger brother's life. He was holding him as he took his last breath.
Moua's family believes his shooting was a case of mistaken identity. Police say they have no motive and no one in custody in connection with the crime.
What police say they do have is a problem with violence in the Hmong community.
"The chief has reached out to the Hmong community leadership and will be engaging in conversation focused expressly on how it is we can work together to prevent these kind of things from happening," said Paul Schnell, St. Paul police's public information officer.
Schnell said the police department is concerned that a number of homicides are connected to gang activity. He said they are not sure if the city's latest homicide is gang related.
In recent weeks, the gang unit has been stepped up in St. Paul and police are looking to the community for help in solving these crimes.
St. Paul police said it is unusual for that city to have more murders than Minneapolis. In Minneapolis so far this year, there have been five homicides. At this time last year, there were 18.
Minneapolis homicide investigators say this year's number compares to what they saw in the 1940s and 1950s.