MURDER, THEY WROUGHT
As screams irrupted and workers panicked, Nguyen shouted, "Get down or get out of the way," as he began stalking his next victim. With a methodical directness, Nguyen walked up to Son Van Truong, one of the plant's most skilled repairmen and who had plans to open a TV repair shop. Nguyen shot him in the back of the head. Like a rag doll, Truong collapsed.
A nearby worker vomited and then leaped under a table head-first, his buttocks protruding into the florescent glare. Nguyen, as if targeting a dart board, raised his gun and fired a single shot at the exposed rump.
At that point, Nguyen paused to reload the gun. The task completed, he sprinted across the cement floor toward the management offices. He brushed past Song Sabandith, a 39 year-old Laotian, who in a fit of terror raised his arms and begged in his native tongue, "Man, don't shoot. I surrender." Inexplicably, the gunman elbowed Sabandith aside and shot another man, standing nearby in a stunned silence, twice in the back.
As Sabandith, in tears, dropped to his knees, the gunman dashed across the room to his ex-supervisor's office and kicked in the door. The supervisor's desk was empty. She had left for lunch just before Nguyen had entered the building. In the next desk over sat Teresa Pham, who had trained Nguyen to assemble computer interfaces. Nguyen shot her. The bullet instantly stopped her heart.
Watching Pham's head flop onto her desk, Nguyen raised his gun, pressed its muzzle to his temple and pulled the trigger. Police and psychologists later questioned witnesses, but no one could conclude what events or hardships could have provoked such rage.
These incidents represent only the tip of an increasingly bloody iceberg. Each week Los Angeles and San Francisco area newspapers carry at least one Asian-related crime story, and undoubtedly, dozens more take place unnoticed.
Little Saigon Murders
In April Little Saigon in Orange County experienced a rash of late-night gang-style shootings that targeted café patrons. In the final week of May, two 19-year-old Laotian Americans were arrested and charged with the murder of a German tourist and the shooting of her husband. The German couple had parked their car at a scenic viewpoint overlooking Hemet in the San Jacinto Mountains when the gunmen pounced. The apparent motive was robbery.
"There is an actual increase of violence in the Asian community, and we have seen an increase in gang activity," says Dr Stanly Sue, director of the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health. "And people are noticing it more. Because of the stereotype of Asian Americans as the ethnic group that's always doing so well, when people see Asian violence it grabs their attention."
Sue points to an increasing number of pressures that may account for the spread of spilled blood. Recent immigrants may grow frustrated trying to function in a new and shockingly fast-pasted environment and become disgruntled by an unforeseen lack of economic opportunity. The children of immigrants may feel torn between new and old country values, especially if their parents refuse to acculturate.
Naturally, the increasing immigration rate compounds the pressures. A decade ago members of a smaller and tighter Asian community could provide each other with personal support, but now the impersonal nature of an ever-growing Asian population alienates those on the fringe who require the most attention.
murder like the one allegedly committed by Lisa Peng may have been
prevented if she had had access to a circle of close friends or at least a circle
of Chinese speakers with whom to consult, believe some Asian community
leaders in Los Angles. Peng was motivated by a profound frustration
stemming from jealously and helplessness, contend the police.