Four arrested after Merced shooting; one related to man killed by officers

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comApril 30, 2013 

A 19-year-old man who was once the focus of an officer-involved shooting is back in jail on suspicion of violating his probation.

Kong Xiong was taken into custody Saturday along with three others at an apartment complex in the 3100 block of Meadows Avenue.

Police responded to the complex after receiving a call of shots fired. Officers found two males and a female with bullet wounds. The victims are recovering, according to police Sgt. Scott Skinner.

After checking the area, officers reported finding several shell casings at the scene, and a similar shell casing in front of an apartment unit.

Police tried to contact the occupants of the unit, but they refused to answer the door.

Officers obtained a warrant to search the unit, believing its occupants could have been involved in the shooting.

Before officers could serve the warrant, about 20 people began leaving the apartment unit.

Police detained the group, most of whom were validated gang members.

Four people among that group were arrested, including Xiong, who was taken into custody on a probation violation.

Police also arrested Chai Yang, 21, on suspicion of resisting or delaying an officer in the performance of his duties; Sidney Vongphakdy, 25, on parole violation; and Roger Xayarath, 20, on probation violation.

During the search of the apartment, a 9 mm handgun was found along with ammunition, police said. The shell casings at both scenes were 9 mm.

Although Xiong and the three others were taken into custody, Skinner said police are still investigating whether they were involved in the Meadows Avenue shooting.

Thus far, they haven't been charged in the shooting, Skinner said.

Xiong and the others were booked into the Merced County Jail.

Familiar to police

Xiong's name is familiar to law enforcement because of his involvement in a December 2011 Merced officer-involved shooting.

In that case, officers Eduardo Chavez and James Lodwick responded to a gathering at a Buckingham Court residence in north Merced after receiving a call about a man brandishing a gun.

The officers fired at Xiong after hearing the sound of a gun's action and seeing him holding a firearm.

Xiong was shot in the leg; however, police mistakenly shot and killed his 21-year-old uncle, Vang Thao, who was standing behind a fence. The department cleared the officers of wrongdoing in Thao's fatal shooting.

Xiong was convicted a year ago of illegally possessing a firearm and sentenced to three years of probation and one year of jail time, with credit for time served, for his involvement in the case.

The terms of Xiong's probation included several conditions, such as not associating with known gang members and not possessing a firearm.

Police are asking anyone with information about the Meadows Avenue shooting to call Detective Chris Russell at (209) 385-4707, or the Merced Police Department tips line at (209) 385-4725. Tips are kept confidential and callers can remain anonymous.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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