Police pursue clues in Modesto slayings

Victim's ID confirmed; neighbor says suspect tried to get in his house

July 21, 2009 

Authorities on Tuesday released the name of one of the two people killed in a shooting early Monday in west Modesto, while coroner officials worked to confirm the identity of the second victim.

Nhia Yang, 27, of Modesto was one of two people pronounced dead at the scene, said Sgt. Brian Findlen, a Modesto police spokesman.

Public records show Yang lived at the home where the shooting occurred, but police would not confirm that.

When a Bee reporter knocked on the home's front door Tuesday afternoon, nobody answered. Attempts to reach Yang's family by phone were unsuccessful.

As of Tuesday evening, Stanislaus County coroner officials had not confirmed the identity of the woman who was shot and killed at the home in the 1700 block of Radley Place in Modesto.

Findlen said authorities will release her name as soon as they can confirm her identity.

A 21-year-old man shot and injured in Monday's attack remained hospitalized Tuesday, where he was listed in serious condition with nonlife-threatening injuries. Police did not release his name.

Officers arrested Tou Vang Xiong, 25, of Atwater on Monday on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and using a firearm to commit a homicide. He was being held Tuesday evening at Stanislaus County Jail without bail and was scheduled to appear in court today.

Police did not release Xiong's photo because it may be used in photo lineups. Police didn't release new details about the shooting, fearing it would harm the investigation.

Police would not discuss possible motives, the relationship between Xiong and the victims or say how — or if — the victims were related. Detectives said they do not believe the attack was random and were looking into the possibility that Xiong and the victims knew each other.

When asked whether detectives had identified other suspects in the case, Findlen declined to comment.

But Findlen said "we do believe that Xiong is responsible for this tragic incident. However, the investigation is still ongoing, and we can't eliminate the possibility of other arrests. There is still much more to be done."

Shots rang out about 5:20 a.m. Monday on Radley, a few blocks south of Rouse Avenue and west of Paradise Road.

Lee Moua, 21, lives across the street from the shooting. He said he heard about nine shots from an automatic gun and three shots from a pistol.

"I know because the automatic shots were fast and the pistol shots were slow," Moua said.

About three minutes after the shots were fired, Moua said he and his family heard Xiong banging on their front door. He said they peeked through the front window blinds and saw Xiong carrying a silver pistol and a rifle that appeared to be an M-16.

"He was pointing the (pistol) at us, trying to get us to open the door," Moua said. The family did not open the door.

Xiong hid the pistol inside the Moua family's garage and placed the rifle underneath a minivan parked in their front yard, Moua said.

He said Modesto police officers arrived with their guns drawn at his home shortly after. He said Xiong raised his hands and surrendered to the officers.

Findlen would not confirm Moua's version of the incident. Police did say officers apprehended Xiong at a nearby home without incident.

Police ask anyone with information about these shootings to call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" and a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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