ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A St. Paul man is charged with 2nd-degree murder and two counts of 2nd-degree attempted murders after a gang-related drive-by shooting in front of a bar on St. Paul’s east side.
According to the criminal complaint, 31-year-old True Thao allegedly fired a semi-automatic handgun in to a crowd of people standing in front of the Moonshine Bar at 1179 E. Seventh St. on the evening of Oct. 26.
Witnesses say Thao, who was driving a dark blue Acura TL, pulled up about 15 to 20 feet away from the bar, rolled down his window and took aim at the group with what appeared to be a Tec-9 with an extended clip.
Adlai Xiong, 27, was killed after suffering three gunshot wounds, one of which was to the head.
Two others, a man and a woman, each suffered three gunshot wounds. Both survived.
St. Paul Police recovered 12 shell casings at the scene.
Sgt. Richard Straka says members of the three different gangs were in the Moonshine Bar prior to the shooting. Xiong and the two other victims were in the bar’s VIP room. Surveillance video shows Thao looking into the room just before leaving the bar.
Six minutes later, Xiong and his group went outside to smoke and were attacked soon after.
Police later arrested Thao and towed his car, which officers say smelled of bleach, was recently wiped down and vacuumed.
Thao declined making a statement, and was later released from custody after one of the victims was unable to identify him in a lineup.
One of Thao’s friends says he showed up at his home after the shooting. The friend was at a funeral, but his wife was home and said Thao was “scaring” her. She said he smelled of beer, and asked if he could leave his sweater with her and clean his car there.
When the friend returned from the funeral, he found Thao sitting in the Acura. He said he just shot someone, possibly a girl. He asked if he could wash his hands and if he could come back to pick up his sweater later.
When Thao’s friend asked him where he got the gun from and where it was now, Thao ignored him.
Another friend says he overheard Thao say he emptied a “mag” on the group, and he witnessed Thao wiping down the driver’s door and driver’s seat of the Acura with Clorox Bleach cleaning wipes.
Thao has a prior conviction for 1st-degree attempted murder for the benefit of a gang in 2000. He shot a rival gang member and received a 186-month sentence.
Thao is currently at large.