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St. Paul man charged with murder in Concord-Robert neighborhood shooting

The scene of a crash at the Oakland Cemetery in St. Paul on Dec. 26, 2019. Photo: KSTP
The scene of a crash at the Oakland Cemetery in St. Paul on Dec. 26, 2019.

Updated: December 31, 2019 10:33 AM

A St. Paul man has been charged with murder in the second degree relating to a St. Paul neighborhood shooting that happened Thursday.

Court documents show Chee Kong Yang, 28, was charged with the one count and could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted. The victim was identified on Monday as 37-year-old Antonio Espana-Estrada, of Minneapolis.

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According to a criminal complaint, on Dec. 26 at about 5:26 p.m., officers responded to J & P Trading, located at 295 State Street in St. Paul, on a report of a man shot in the parking lot. Upon arrival, officers witnessed the victim being transported my St. Paul medics to Regions Hospital where the victim later died from his injuries.

Victim identified in Concord-Robert neighborhood shooting

The victim, Espana-Estrada, was seen by witnesses leaving work and walking across the parking lot. A minivan was seen parked in the lot with an Asian man and woman occupying the vehicle, both arguing in a language the witness could not understand. The man was then seen getting out of the van and ran up to Espana-Estrada, allegedly shooting him "once or twice in the torso." After initially shooting him, Yang began to run back to the van when he stopped, turned around and ran back to Espana-Estrada and shot him "multiple times" while he was on the ground. Yang then fled the scene, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said minutes later they learned of a minivan involved in a hit-and-run collision with another vehicle at Highway 52 and Concord Street, about 1.3 miles away from the shooting. The vehicle was identified at the hit-and-run scene to be a 1996 green Nissan Quest.

Then, about 10 minutes after receiving the call regarding a man shot, police were sent to the intersection of Sycamore Street East and Jackson Street on a report of a female down in the street. Along with the female, a fence on the south side of the Jackson Cemetery had fresh damage and a minivan appeared to have driven through the fence. The minivan was found abandoned in the cemetery. The driver of the van, Yang, fled on foot and a passerby called police and advised them of seeing "an Asian male running from the west side of the cemetery. The complaint states the passerby followed Yang and directed authorities to his location in front of a residence on the 1000 block of Galtier Street. There, police took Yang into custody.

Man arrested after crashing vehicle into Oakland Cemetery leaving 1 injured

Surveillance video later confirmed the vehicle was the same in both the shooting and hit-and-run. Police collected at least six 9 mm shell casings at the scene of the shooting but a gun is yet to be found. 

Police spoke with Yang's girlfriend, who was in the van at the time. She told them they left Yang's mother's house after some drinking and Yang was driving. They pulled into the lot by the warehouse and she "heard a click and believed Yang had a gun." She claimed she was trying to prevent him from getting out of the vehicle but he did anyway. According to the complaint, he "popped out of the van and started shooting everywhere."

Police attempted to speak with Yang but he requested an attorney. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office said Espana-Estrada's manner of death is a homicide.

1 dead, 1 arrested after St. Paul shooting

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Credits

Tommy Wiita

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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