AAP staff report
ST. PAUL (Oct. 31, 2013) — The suspect arrested in the shooting of three people outside a St. Paul bar was arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder Thursday at Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center.
True Thao, 31, of St. Paul, is charged with killing Adlai Xiong and wounding his companions with the use of a firearm.
According to the complaint, the victims, Adlai Xiong, 27, a female companion “TX”, 23, and a male companion “PL”, 24, were standing outside smoking and talking at the Moonshine Saloon, 1179 East Seventh Street, St. Paul on Oct. 26, 2013. Having locked themselves out of the back door the three men were walking around the building towards the front door when a black four-door Acura approached.
Described by PL as a “chubby Asian with a buzz haircut”, Thao allegedly rolled down his window and stopped some 15 to 20 feet from the group and without saying a word produced a gun resembling a Tec-9 with an extended clip and opened fire on the group. He was later unable to pick Thao out of a lineup.
PL suffered gunshot injuries to his hand, legs, and back. Adlai Xiong reportedly grabbed TX and told her to get down but she had already suffered gunshot wounds to her arm, shoulder, and buttocks.
TX was facing Xiong as they talked outside and didn’t see the shooting with her back turned to the car. While laying wounded on the ground TX said she saw Xiong bleeding from his head.
When the shooting ended Xiong, TX, and PL each suffered three gunshot wounds. Xiong would later die from his injuries.
TX said they had been at the bar for an hour prior to going outside to smoke. She said Xiong was her cousin and a member of the OMB gang.
Once the bar bouncers became aware of the incident they locked down the bar. Police arrived and ensured that everyone was identified and questioned before leaving.
Officers recovered 12 shell casings from the scene.
A witness, “XA”, said he was outside when he heard the shots and saw the Acura in the intersection of Seventh Street and Duluth Street. The driver stopped momentarily and looked back at the victims before turning west onto Seventh Street and driving away.
XA described the driver and was certain the person in the Acura was in the bar prior to the shooting. XA was unsure if anyone else was in the vehicle.
Police learned that members of ORB, MAB, and 612 gangs were in the bar before the shooting. The bar’s surveillance video showed there were numerous gang members inside the bar.
The video showed that the victims were in the VIP room just off of the bar and that another group of gang members who were situated in another corner of the bar. Surveillance showed the suspect Thao looking into the VIP room shortly before leaving the bar, with the victims leaving approximately six minutes later.
Further investigation revealed that Thao’s group had been at a birthday party before they came to the bar. Thao is the registered owner of a 2005 blue Acura TL with Minnesota license plates. He drove his car from the party to the bar.
At some point during the evening, Thao reportedly asked a woman with their group to check and see if the men in the VIP room were OMB gang members. The woman was not unable to confirm the information.
Following Thao’s arrest, police prepared his vehicle for towing and said they smelled an odor of bleach inside and noted that it had recently been wiped down and vacuumed.
Thao declined a custodial statement. Family members later reported that Thao had said he thought he had shot someone but did not know who but thought one victim was a female.
Ramsey County Medical Examiner Michael McGee ruled the manner of Adlai Xiong’s death as a homicide. The cause of his death was a cerebral laceration and destruction due to a gunshot wound to the head.
True Thao has a prior conviction for attempted murder in the first degree for the benefit of a gang. In 2000, Thao shot a rival gang member in retaliation for himself being beaten and received a 186-month sentence for that conviction.
The maximum possible sentence for second-degree murder is 40 years in prison.