Yia Xiong, left, and Ka Lor, right. Credit: Photo Courtesy of Hmong 18 Council

Just seven weeks after a murder-suicide shocked the local Hmong and broader Twin Cities community, a similar tragedy took place on St. Paul’s East Side Tuesday night with the deaths of Ka Lor and Yia Xiong. 

Police are investigating the incident as a murder-suicide. This is a developing story and Sahan Journal will update it as more information comes in. 

Here’s what we know so far:

Who were Ka Lor and Yia Xiong?

St. Paul police say Yia Xiong, 33, and Ka Lor, 30, had been in a 10-year relationship and were the parents of five children ages 2 to 9. The family lived in the Northern Hayden Heights neighborhood on the Greater East Side of St. Paul. Photos of the couple surfacing on social media show they were married in a traditional Hmong ceremony. 

The family lived on a quiet block full of mostly single-story homes that ends in a wooded park with a biking and walking trail. Credit: Becky Z. Dernbach | Sahan Journal

What happened the night of August 17?

Details are still scarce. At some point Tuesday night, Xiong, the husband, shot and killed Lor and subsequently turned the gun on himself and took his own life, according to police. It’s unclear why Xiong acted out this way. 

All five children were in the home when this happened. One of the children called 911 around 9:15 pm and fire medics responded to the situation. Both Xiong and Lor were pronounced dead at the scene. 

More about Yia Xiong and Ka Lor

How are the children doing? 

All five children are safe and none was physically harmed, according to police. Police say that the children were referred to St. Paul Survivor Resources and Midwest Children’s Resource Center for support. 

Yia Xiong and Ka Lor Credit: Hmong MN Council's Facebook page

What can I do to help? 

The Xiong family set up an online fundraiser to pay for the expenses of both Xiong and Lor’s funerals. “On Tuesday, August 16th, we lost our brother, Yia Xiong, and sister-in-law, Ka Lor,” a message on the GoFundMe page reads. “This was a tragic loss to our family. Yia and Ka left behind five children all under the age of 10.”

What resources are out there to help with domestic violence?

St. Paul police suggest people in the city experiencing domestic violence contact the St. Paul Intervention Project, which can be reached at (651) 645-2824. 

Additionally, the Hmong Family Strengthening Helpline offers culturally sensitive resources for domestic violence victims and can be reached at 1-877-740-4292. Transforming Generations also offers culturally specific support and can be contacted at (651) 703-4169. 

What resources are out there to help with depression and suicidal thoughts?

People in the St. Paul area struggling with suicidal thoughts can receive help through the Ramsey County Crisis Line at (651) 266-7900. The National Alliance on Mental Health also provides a free, 24-hour hotline that can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. 

What organizations serve the Hmong community specifically that can help me or my loved one with questions about mental health?

Joey Peters is a reporter for Sahan Journal. He has been a journalist for 15 years. Before joining Sahan Journal, he worked for close to a decade in New Mexico, where his reporting prompted the resignation...