Soldier from St. Paul among 13 dead at Fort Hood - Kham Xiong

Saturday, November 7, 2009

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Kham Xiong, 23, had joined the Army earlier this year. Xiong as among the 13 people killed in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009. (MPR Photo/Ambar Espinoza)

St. Paul, Minn. — A St. Paul soldier is among the 13 people killed in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood yesterday.

Kham Xiong, 23, had joined the Army earlier this year. He was following in the footsteps of his younger brother, Nelson, who had joined the Marines and was deployed to Afghanistan.

Xiong's family said he worked as a vehicle mechanic in the Army and that he was expecting to be shipped overseas for a deployment early next year.

On Thursday, Xiong was among about 300 soldiers in line, waiting for vaccinations and eye tests at the base's Soldier Readiness Center when he was shot and killed.

An Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, shot nearly three dozen people at the base in what is being called one of the worst mass shootings ever on an American military base. The incident ended when Hasan was shot and wounded by a civilian policewoman who arrived at the scene minutes after the shooting started.

Robert Xiong said his brother was one of 11 siblings, all children of Hmong refugees who settled in Minnesota. His father had fought the Communist insurgents in Laos during the Vietnam War, and the family eventually fled to Thailand where Kham Xiong was born.

The family immigrated to Santa Barbara in 1984, and his father came to Minnesota in 1998 to find work. The family has lived in Minnesota ever since.

Robert Xiong remembered his brother as an outdoorsman and a friend.

"He was an outgoing person," Robert Xiong said. "He really liked going to do the outdoors stuff, like hunting and fishing. And he was a real, real funny guy."

Xiong was living in Texas, with his wife, Shoua and their three children when he was killed. He leaves behind children in age from 4 years to 10 months.

Xiong's family was returning to Minnesota in the wake of the shooting. His brother-in-law described Xiong's parents are shocked by the news of the shooting and said they hoped reports of his death were mistaken.

An Army official had already arrived at the their East Side home this afternoon to help the family to deal with Xiong's slaying.


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