On Wednesday, March 22, Nengmy Vang went on a shooting rampage which spanned three northern Wisconsin towns. The 45-year-old is accused of killing a police detective, his wife’s divorce attorney, and two people at the bank where his wife worked.
DoJ: Nengmy Vang, the suspect in last week’s deadly shooting rampage in Weston, WI area, dies in hospital. See MW-001SA. pic.twitter.com/iGEo5BrkTB
— CNN Newsource (@CNNNewsource) April 1, 2017
The Chicago Tribune reported that the attorney who died in the attack was Sara Sann, the Marathon Savings Bank employees were Dianne Look and Karen Barclay, and the Everest Metro Detective was Jason Weiland. Sara Sann’s husband, Scott, wrote an emotional letter calling for calm and posted it on his employer’s Facebook page.
“This person could’ve been any gender, any color, any religion and they could’ve acted in other ways of violence to make their point. Don’t get trapped in the details.”
At this point, investigators have released very few details about what occurred during the Wisconsin rampage, and they haven’t officially identified Vang as the shooter. Neither Vang nor his divorce attorney, David Gardner Casey, have responded to questions, but it’s believed that the Wisconsin shooting spree was the result of a domestic dispute between Vang and his wife, Naly Vang. It was Nengmy Vang who filed a divorce petition in 2015, and the two are currently involved in bitter divorce proceedings.
Vang’s brother, Vajloogzeb Vaj, said, “I feel sorry for the families,” and told Associated Press that the Hmong community would come together to help families of the victims.
It appears that, during divorce proceedings, Naly Vang stayed in their home while Nengmy moved to an apartment. His brother noted that Nengmy had become a loner and had shown signs of being mentally ill since he and his wife separated. He also said that Nengmy had once hit their mother “like a crazy person.”
— Post-Crescent Media (@PostCrescent) March 24, 2017
According to court records, Nengmy Vang had also been struggling with debt: since 2009 he has been sued five times by various lenders seeking thousands of dollars. The day before the shootings, the couple was issued a garnishment notice to repay $9,370 to a credit union.
Naly Vang works at the Rothschild bank, and investigators say Nengmy Vang showed up at her workplace on Wednesday. What happened next is unclear, but he allegedly shot Dianne Look and Karen Barclay. His wife Naly managed to escape unhurt.
Vang then traveled to Schofield where he shot Sara Quirt Sann in her office. After barricading himself in his Weston apartment, he then fatally shot Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland as he was attempting to set up a perimeter. Vang was eventually shot and wounded by police officers and taken into custody. Vang’s brother said that while Vang was in his apartment he called his brother to say goodbye: Vaj was so shocked he almost had a heart attack, he said.
WISN reported that hundreds of mourners turned out the vigil for the Wisconsin shooting victims.
— Views Headlines (@ViewsHeadlines) March 24, 2017
Organizers arranged the candlelit vigil at Kennedy Park in Weston as an opportunity for mourners to show support for the families of the four victims who lost their lives.
Chief Wally Sparks with the Everest Metro Police Department spoke at the vigil.
“It really touches the hearts of all of our officers. My heart goes out to the families and the suspect’s family. It’s just a difficult time for everyone.”
Court records show that Nengmy worked for Marathon Cheese Corporation in Marathon City. The corporation’s president issued a statement last Friday.
“Late yesterday, we learned from investigators that a person of interest in custody in this terrible tragedy is an employee at our Marathon City plant. We immediately pledged our full cooperation to law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation. Our employees are being notified, and counseling services are being made available.”
The Washington Post reported that a cold shower fell on hundreds of mourners holding candles and huddling under umbrellas at the Sunday night vigil. “This rain just hides the tears”, said Marathon County’s Sheriff Scott Parks.
— Newstutu1 (@newstutu) March 24, 2017
The shooter, Nengmy Vang, has been identified by Associated Press, the Wausau Daily Herald, and other news outlets, and it is believed the day of tragedy started with a domestic violence incident at the Marathon Savings Bank. It’s also been reported that for two years Vang and his wife have been involved in nasty divorce proceedings, including financial woes, a paternity test, and a custody battle over the youngest of their six children.
Bert Nitzke is with the South Area Fire Department and spoke at the vigil.
“It’s a huge shock. It’s people that we know. It’s a small community.”
During the stand-off with Vang that lasted well into the evening, local schools and a hospital were locked down, after which Vang was wounded in a shootout and taken into custody. It is believed that he’s currently in police custody at an undisclosed hospital where he’s undergoing intense medical care.
The tragedy has rocked Marathon County and caused people to realize that domestic violence can quickly morph from a private affair to a very public affair. In addition, Vang’s Hmong ethnicity has stirred racial tensions in Wisconsin; home to one of the largest Hmong communities in the United States, but a state that has struggled for decades to welcome it. From time to time animosity flares in northern Wisconsin between the white population and the Hmong: the Hmong people are from Laos, who immigrated after working with the United States during the Vietnam war.
A week after the brutal rampage that left four people dead, the death toll has risen again. Nengmy Vang died in the hospital on April 1 from what were originally thought to be non-fatal gunshot wounds.
[Featured Image by A Katz/Shutterstock]