AAP staff report
ST. PAUL (June 11, 2013) — The man accused in the shooting death of a St. Paul bartender on Sunday made his initial appearance at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center. Charges against a second man are being considered.
Yia Her, 26, of Oakdale, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder, and attempted second-degree murder in a felony complaint filed by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. The court ordered that Her continued to be detained in the jail.
Her is accused of aiding and abetting and being aided and abetted by another in causing the death of Vone Xweet Moua, 46, and the attempted death of Vone Moua. The added offense of possessing or using a firearm in the commission is included in the charge. The maximum sentence for the charge is 40 years in prison.
The second charge has to do with the attempted murder of a 31 year-old male while in possession by a firearm. The maximum possible sentence for attempted second-degree murder is 20 years in prison.
The felony complaint reads that on June 9, 2013, Vone Moua, 31, was working at Malina’s Sports Bar located at 691 North Dale Street. Moua owned the bar together with his spouse. At approximately 2:15 a.m., employees told two Asian males who were playing pool that they had to leave because the bar was closed.
Twice that evening a waitress had run a credit card owned by one of the men for drinks — his first name was Yia, who was described as 25-years-old, between 5’3” to 5’6”, 135 to 150 pounds, and wearing a white shirt and blue jeans or black shorts.
Moua told Yia that the bar was closed. Moua complained that he had paid $20 to rent a pool table for two hours. Moua reportedly told Yia that he would play him in a game of pool and if Yia won, he could play for two hours. If Moua won, then Yia had to leave.
Yia became angry and made a phone call that was overheard by a witness who works at the bar as a disc jockey. Yia asked the person on the other end of the phone call where they were and he asked them to come inside the bar. Yia left the bar without taking Moua up on his offer. He returned a short time later and kicked the front door which had been locked for closing time.
Moua gave a waitress permission to open the door and Yia re-entered with a man who had been in the bar earlier with Yia. The second man was 25-years-old, 5’3” to 5’6”, 135 to 150 pounds, with longer, black hair, and acne. The man wore jeans, a blue button-up shirt, and had a red bandana wrapped around his right wrist.
Moua left the bar area and approached Yia and they had a discussion about the pool table, time, and money. Moua and Yia began to push each other. Moua and other bar employees and customers pushed Yia towards the door.
The second victim-witness walked over to help and saw the second man reach out towards Moua with something metal in his hand. The witness initially thought the object could have been a knife but he heard a gunshot. The shooter then turned the gun towards the witness who instinctually grabbed the gun and it fired grazing the back of the neck of the witness.
The victim was at the bar and saw the confrontation taking place at the doorway. One of the men who had argued about the time they had on the pool table began to argue with Moua. The man shoved Moua who tried to push the man out of the door.
The witness moved in to help Moua get the man out of the bar and pushed him towards the door and then saw Moua drop to the floor. The witness then felt pain in his chest and saw blood and dove for cover. He didn’t know whether he had been shot or stabbed at the time as he did not recall hearing gunshots.
The witness was later taken to the hospital because he had been shot in the left side underneath his armpit. The bullet went through the victim’s body and lodged near the right side of his neck.
The bar owners spouse and her children arrived at the bar to pick Moua up after closing. She was in the bar when Yia and the other man came back into the bar. She said Yia was badmouthing everyone and arguing that he wanted to stay late and play pool with Moua.
The other man said nothing as Yia and Moua argued. There was pushing and shoving at the door when the bar owner’s wife said she saw the man with Yia lift up a silver gun in the air.
The man lifted his right arm up into the air and aimed the gun downward at an angle. The man shot the gun and everyone started to run. After the first shot, the shooter looked around for others to fire on and the bartender’s wife said she heard three to four shots fired.
Both men got into a small black car and fled. The bartender’s wife and others in the bar tended to Moua’s head wound. She also presented the officers with three spent shell casings that she had picked up from the bar floor.
Moua was transported to Regions Hospital where he later died.
Ramsey County Medical Examiner Doctor Michael McGee ruled the cause of death as homicide. He indicated that the cause of Moua’s death was cerebral lacerations and cerebral destruction due to a gunshot wound to the head.
Another bartender helped police identify vehicles in the parking lot that belonged to other staff members. Officers ran the car’s license plate and a photo of the registered owner came up on the screen of their squad’s computer where the bartender made a positive identification.
Officers went to an address where Her had once reported his vehicle had been stolen. Officers spoke to the bartender who indicated that Her is a brother-in-law and saw him earlier that morning when he said that he might be gone for a little while and asked those present to take care of his kids.
It was later determined that Her was at 311 Toronto Street and officers went there to try to locate Her. While conducting surveillance on the home, officers saw an individual park a Toyota Tacoma and walk toward the Toronto Street address. Th physical characteristics matched those of Her.
Officers knocked on the door and a man answered holding a baby. Officers recognized the man as having been in the Toyota and they recognized him as Her. Officers had Her put the baby down and they saw a white t-shirt lying on top of a pile of clothing and boxes near a couch. The shirt appeared to have blood stains across the front and on one of the sleeves.
Officers asked Her if he knew why they were there and he said, “Yeah, I know.” The officers arrested Her and placed him in handcuffs.
Officers spoke to Her’s wife, who said Her wanted to go out with friends the previous evening. Her asked his wife if she wanted to come along, but she declined.
Her’s wife recalled that he and friends were drinking at the Oakdale residence that evening before leaving. Sometime before sunrise he returned and slept in the living room. She noticed the bloody T-shirt the following morning. He then said he was leaving to get his white car, she said.
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office is reviewing a case against Cheng Vang, 23, who is Her’s wife’s brother. He was reportedly playing pool with Her and left the bar and may have brought the gun that Her allegedly used in the offense. Vang was allegedly behind Her when the gun was fired and drove the car they left after the crime.
The owner began pushing and choking Her who was pushed up against the exit door. Her said many people had “wrestled them down” and and the owner fell to the ground. Her and Vang ran out of the bar. Her went to his car but wasn’t able to get in so he ran and got in the front passenger seat of Vang’s car.
A St. Paul Police Officer noted scratches on Her’s arm and neck, and what appeared to be dried blood on his right forearm.
Her denied seeing Vang with a gun before they reentered the bar, while they were in the bar, or afterwards when Vang gave him a ride home. Her denied there was any conversation in the car on their way to Her’s mother-in-law’s home where he was dropped off.