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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Kong Vue did not plan to commit a homicide, but he panicked and shot Sara Hougom twice while in her apartment to steal her purse

Kong Vue did not plan to commit a homicide, but he panicked and shot Sara Hougom twice while in her apartment to steal her purse, investigators testified Wednesday. "I think I just shot somebody," Vue told his uncle after leaving her apartment on March 26, La Crosse police detective Sgt. Jake Jansky testified. Vue, 19, and his uncle, Pao Choua Vue, 21, both of La Crosse, are charged in La Crosse County Circuit Court with first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide as party to the crime stemming from Hougom's death and a drive-by shooting minutes earlier. Ads by Google Circuit Judge Todd Bjerke found enough evidence Wednesday during their preliminary hearing to bind them over for trial. They return to court May 21 for arraignments after prosecutors decide whether to file additional charges. Kong Vue told investigators he walked into Hougom's unlocked apartment at 721 Division St. on March 26 hunting for her purse. He fired twice in her direction when he saw her move on the couch, Jansky testified. He then fled to a waiting car driven by his uncle. Hougom called 911 from her cell phone at 4:18 p.m., though dispatchers heard only "moaning or crying in the background, but no verbalization," La Crosse police officer Dan Ulrich testified. Officers found Hougom pale and unresponsive on the couch but with no signs of injury to her body, Ulrich said. Police and paramedics performed CPR before taking her to Mayo Clinic Health System. Doctors worked on her for 15 minutes and finally realized she'd been shot only when a small drop of blood emerged from her chest and an X-ray revealed the gunshot wounds, Ulrich testified. Hougom, 20, was pronounced dead at 5:20 p.m. Kong Vue told investigators he brought the gun -- the same one his uncle used in a drive-by shooting on the North Side -- to the robbery for intimidation, Jansky said. Upset by a recent argument with his girlfriend over money, Kong Vue told investigators he spent the morning of March 26 searching for jobs before picking up Pao Choua Vue, Jansky testified. They drove around the city before reaching 1519 Island St., where Pao Choua Vue fired four rounds into the house about 15 minutes before the shooting at Hougom's apartment, Jansky said. Three people in the house at the time were celebrating an 83-year-old's birthday when they heard a "crashing" noise, La Crosse police officer Brad Schomberg said. No one was hurt in that incident, and police said there was no motive for the shooting. Authorities recovered three bullets from inside the home and four casings from the street, investigator Ron Secord testified. The state Crime Laboratory determined the shell casings recovered from Island Street match those found at Hougom's apartment and were fired from the same gun, Jansky said. Authorities have not recovered the gun. At the time of the shootings, Pao Choua Vue was free on a cash bond for a pending drug case, but has been in the La Crosse County Jail since the day after the crimes for violating his bond. Former inmate Lucas Brickl testified Wednesday Pao Choua Vue stood up, spread out his arms and declared that he "killed" and "shot" Hougom during television news reports of her death. Pao Choua Vue and Kong Vue remain jailed on $1 million cash bonds.



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