Police arrest suspect in triple shooting

July 20, 2009 

Police have arrested a 25-year-old Atwater man in the shooting death of two people Monday morning in southwest Modesto.

Tou Vang Xiong was arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of using a firearm while in commission of a homicide, police said.

Police would not release Xiong's photo because it may be used in photo lineups, Sgt. Brian Findlen said.

Relatives said the man who was killed was Nhia Yang. Relatives did not know his exact age; public records show Yang was 27. He lived at the home in the 1700 block of Radley Place, where shots rang out about 5:20 a.m.

Police say a man and a woman were killed. A third victim, who ran from the scene of the shooting, suffered serious injuries, police said. He is a man in his 20s. He was found on Hammond Street, a few blocks from the shooting. He was being treated at a Modesto hospital.

Xiong was arrested at a nearby home shortly after officers arrived, police said.

Police would not identify the victims or say how — or if — they were related. About two dozen people could be seen at the home Monday afternoon.

The homicides bring this year's total to 21 in Modesto and nearby unincorporated areas, including Empire, Sa-lida and Del Rio.

Neighbors said the house where the shooting happened had been a trouble spot in recent months, with fights in the front yard and people coming and going throughout the day and night. The house is fronted by a well-kept green yard and small garden.

Police responded routinely to domestic disputes at the home, said Sonia Rosales, who lives across the street. Authorities would not confirm that.

Rosales said the man who apparently was the father in the family died in the fall. After that, she said, "Everything went down the drain." A relative, Frank Yang, confirmed that Nhia Yang's father died in 2008.

Mariana Garza, who lives across from the house where the shooting happened, heard the shots. She said she looked out her living room window and saw a man, wearing only khaki pants, leave the house carrying a rifle. Five minutes later, Garza saw a second man with a rifle leave the house. The second man took off in the direction of Hammond, said Garza. Police would not comment on whether there are two suspected shooters.

The first armed man stood in a yard across the street from the shooting site, Garza said. Police arrived a few minutes later. The man told officers, "Take me," Garza said.

Neighbor Araceli Rodriguez awoke to the sounds of shots. She said she heard four shots, then a delay, then a few more. "It was very, very loud," she said.

She said that in recent months, she heard people fighting inside the house.

Daniel Estrada, who lives down the street, said his wife, Soledad, was walking to her car to go to work in Livermore when she heard about 10 shots, and ran inside to call police.

He said this is the second time in the past month that shots have been fired near his home. Earlier this year, he said his Honda Accord was totaled when someone crashed into it while spinning doughnuts near his driveway.

A renter, Estrada and his family moved to the neighborhood seven months ago from the Kansas Avenue area, and he wants to move away soon. He said it's gotten so bad, he doesn't allow his 4- and 6-year-old daughters to play in the front yard.

"I'm not living here much longer," he said.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to call the Modesto Police Department at (209) 572-9500. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters can also text information to by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

Bee staff writers Brian Clark and Jeff Jardine contributed to this report.

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