The family of Xy Lee can’t believe their beloved is gone.
“Everything hurts. There are no words to describe how I’m feeling,” Kou Lee, Xy’s brother said Wednesday through an interpreter. “I cannot accept that my brother passed away.”
Lee, a 23-year old singer well-known in the international Hmong community, was one of four men to die in a Sunday evening quadruple homicide in southeast Fresno.
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Kou talked about his brother’s passion for playing music. They’ve received condolences from fans around the world.
City Gathers Money for Victims’ Funds
Meanwhile, Mayor Lee Brand and members of the city council encouraged the Fresno community to contribute to a GoFundMe account established to help the families of the victims with funeral and other costs. They were flanked at a City Hall news conference by several members of the Hmong community.
“With a heavy heart, I’m here today as my job as leader of this city to recognize this tragedy and try to make sense of it, to honor the victims, to find a way for the city to move forward,” Brand said. “(The victims were) shooting stars that never got to realize their potential.”
So far, $30,000 has been raised for the victims’ account, which included donations from council members, as well as local businesses. The goal is to raise $500,000.
“We need to do more for the community that is experiencing deep pain and suffering,” Councilman Miguel Arias said.
The funds will be managed by The Fresno Center, a nonprofit focused on helping new immigrants.
Pao Yang, the Fresno Center’s CEO, said his community is ailing.
“Our entire Hmong community in the country is mourning and heartbroken by this senseless, heartless, and evil act of violence,” Yang said.
Officials also urged Fresnans to donate blood.
Increasing Crime Stoppers Reward
On Friday, the city council will hold a special meeting to vote on adding $40,000 to the Crime Stoppers reward fund for a tip that leads to an arrest in the case. The contribution will come from $5,000 in funds from each of the city’s seven council districts, plus the mayor’s office.
The reward now stands at $15,000, with $5,000 coming each from Crime Stoppers (initial reward), and the budgets of Assemblyman Jim Patterson and councilwoman Esmeralda Soria.
“I’m very happy that the elected officials and community are coming together to support the family. I may be the father of Xy, but Xy is a child of the city,” his father Xai Pao Lee said through an interpreter.
Police Investigation Continues
Fresno police say two gunmen targeted a family gathering at 5300 block of E. Lamona Avenue Sunday around 8 p.m. They entered through a side gate and opened fire, striking ten men and killing four, before fleeing.
No arrests have been made. There were no updates as of Wednesday afternoon.
Lee, 31-year old Phia Vang, 38-year old Kou Xiong and 40-year old Kalaxang Thao died.
Police have not been able to confirm a motive, but are not ruling anything out, including possible retaliation. Chief Andy Hall said that some of the partygoers were involved in a “disturbance” previously. Hall did not elaborate what that meant. He also said it did not appear any of the victims were involved in gangs.
Kou said his brother was not involved in any gang activities. His family is anxious for police to find the killers.
Link to Make Donations
Click here to link to the Go Fund Me page to help the victims’ families.