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              RUN BY DAVID AARON GARCIA            



WEEK.50. 0F THE YEAR 2005

FRESNO, Calif. Residents in northeast Fresno are stunned by the killing of a 24-year-old

 woman who was gunned down in their normally quiet neighborhood.

Fresno police have identified the victim as Maniporn Phon Vongthichack, who they say

 worked at Table Mountain Casino. The Fresno woman was fatally shot early yesterday

in front of a home where she was apparently visiting a friend.

Police arrived at the scene around 4 a-m after receiving calls reporting gunfire and a

woman screaming.

Police continue to investigate the killing.

The slaying was Fresno's 49th this year. The city reported 52 homicides last year.


Fresno killing shocks area

Woman shot to death early Saturday outside a northeast residence.

 (Updated Sunday, December 18, 2005, 7:27 AM)

A 24-year-old woman was shot to death early Saturday outside a home in

 northeast Fresno, stunning residents of the normally quiet neighborhood.

The victim was identified by police as Maniporn Phon Vongthichack of Fresno,

 who apparently was visiting a friend at 1838 E. Everglade Ave. when she was

gunned down in front of the residence.

Police said officers were dispatched to the scene about 4a.m. when the department

 received two 911 calls reporting a woman screaming and gunfire.

Vongthichack, who authorities said worked at Table Mountain Casino, was dead

when officers arrived.

The slaying was the city's 49th this year.

Last year, 52 homicides were reported in Fresno.

Lt. Randy Dobbins said Saturday afternoon that no arrests had been made.

He said investigators were interviewing a number of people and also checking

 on a number of leads.

Dobbins declined to talk about a possible motive or whether police have any suspects.

"It's too early in the investigation to say anything more," he said.

Patrick Ward, 40, a resident of the neighborhood, said he was awakened by a woman

 screaming, followed seconds later by the sound of gunshots.

"They were bloodcurdling screams," he said.

"It was the screams that woke me up."

"Then I heard the shots," he said. "Boom, boom, boom."

And the screaming stopped, he said.

Ward said he looked out a front window and saw a man running in the middle

of the street, going west on Everglade toward North Hayston Avenue, about a half-block away.

Ward said he called the 911 operator to report what he had heard.

Ward's mother, Doris Ward, said she, too, was awakened by the screams.

"It was pretty shocking," she said.

The Wards and another neighbor, Hersie Stovall, 46, said they didn't know the

 victim, who would often drive up in a white sports utility vehicle to visit

 the residents of the house on Everglade.

A white sports utility vehicle was towed away by police for evidence.

Authorities said the victim was employed at Table Mountain Casino, but casino

spokesman Brian Maldonado said company policy prevented him from disclosing

 any employee information.

Both the Wards and Stovall said they did not know too much about the residents

of the house — two young men — who moved in about four months ago.

One of the residents was interviewed at police headquarters and then returned

 to the home hours later.

Visibly upset, the man declined to be interviewed by The Bee.

Everglade between Hayston and Meridian avenues was shut down for nearly

seven hours Saturday while detectives combed the neighborhood for witnesses

 and other investigators searched the crime scene for evidence.

"This is all pretty shocking to see," said Vince Antonino, 61, a resident of the

neighborhood for 13 years.

"This is usually a pretty close-knit neighborhood," he said. "You never hear

of any violence around here."

The case has been assigned to homicide detective Carlos Leal. Anyone with

 any information is asked to call Leal at (559) 621-2452.

Man said to have shot ex-girlfriend found dead Sunday

 (Updated Monday, December 19, 2005, 3:39 PM)

The man who police say shot his ex-girlfriend to death last weekend committed

 suicide shortly after telling homicide detectives he would turn himself in.

Vilaysack Phengthavy, 28, was found shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday at a rest stop

parking lot in Lebec, off Interstate 5. He had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to

 the head, and did not leave a suicide note, according to the Kern County Coroner's Office.

Phengthavy is accused of shooting 24-year-old Maniporn Vongthichack as she

 approached the front door of a male friend's home in northeast Fresno. She had

 just finished her work shift at Table Mountain Casino. She and Phengthavy

 worked together at The Palace casino, along with Phengthavy's wife. But he

began having an affair with Vongthichack, and they eventually moved in together

in Fresno. Things went sour about two weeks ago, when Phengthavy moved

out of the apartment, police said.

Slaying suspect identified

Fresno police say they know who fatally shot woman Saturday in

northeast neighborhood.

(Updated Monday, December 19, 2005, 5:07 AM)

Police have identified the man who they believe shot a 24-year-old woman

 to death last weekend on the front doorstep of a northeast Fresno home.

Fresno police on Sunday would not release the suspect's name, but said he

 is a former boyfriend of homicide victim Maniporn Phon Vongthichack of Fresno.

He has not been arrested, and police said the reasons for that will be made public today.

Vongthichack was slain about 4 a.m. Saturday outside the front door of

a home at 1838 E. Everglade Ave., near Shepherd and Cedar avenues.

The suspect, whom Vongthichack had previously worked with at The Palace

casino in Lemoore, was "lying in wait" for his former girlfriend, according to

 police. She apparently had left the Lemoore casino to get away from him.

Vongthichack had been working at Table Mountain Casino north of Fresno,

 and early Saturday, she finished her work shift at 3 a.m. She then drove to

 meet a male co-worker at his Everglade Avenue house. It's not clear how

the suspect knew she was going there, but police said he likely did not

follow her from Table Mountain.

It does not appear Vongthichack and the male co-worker were romantically

involved, but she had been to the house before, police said.

Her death was the city's 49th homicide of the year, compared with 52 in 2004.

 This investigation has led detectives to different cities to follow up leads in

 several places, including Sacramento, Bakersfield and Tulare.

The violence surprised neighbors in the usually quiet neighborhood. One man

 on Everglade heard screams and gunshots and saw a man fleeing the area.

Patrick Ward, 40, said he was awakened by "bloodcurdling" screams, followed

 seconds later by gunshots. Then the screaming stopped, he said.

Ward looked out a front window and saw a man running down the middle of

 the street, heading west. He called 911. When police arrived, Vongthichack was dead.

Neighbors said they didn't know Vongthichack, but she often visited the

residents of the home. Her co-worker lived with another young man, but

 both had only been living there for about four months, neighbors said.



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