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WISCONSIN SHOOTINGS Deer hunter injured in rampage testifies he shot once at suspect


Published: Tue, September 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


Chai Soua Vang is accused of killing six hunters during a confrontation.
HAYWARD, Wis. (AP) -- A deer hunter wounded in a shooting rampage that killed six others testified Tuesday he fired a shot at the man accused in the killings only after he already was hit in the arm and the man was trying to shoot him again.
Lauren Hesebeck said he was helping some of his fallen companions when Chai Soua Vang walked toward him, near where some all-terrain vehicles were parked in the woods.
Hesebeck said Vang hollered something to the effect of, "You're still alive?"
Hesebeck said a shot missed him as he scrambled around an ATV, and he grabbed a rifle and fired one shot in Vang's direction. Hesebeck, one of two hunters wounded in the shootings Nov. 21, told his version of the shootings in the third day of Vang's murder trial in Sawyer County.
Vang, a 36-year-old Hmong immigrant and truck driver from St. Paul, Minn., is charged with six counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. He faces mandatory life in prison if convicted. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.
Judge Norman Yackel told jurors they likely would get the case Friday.
The shootings happened after the hunters got into a confrontation with Vang, whom they accused of trespassing on private land.
Vang's lawyer said he was frightened when the hunters yelled profanities and racial slurs, and acted in self-defense after someone shot at him first. Prosecutors disputed that and said only one shot was fired at Vang, fired by Hesebeck after the shooting began.
Reading from a statement he gave investigators the day after the shootings, Hesebeck testified Tuesday that an owner of the property, Robert Crotteau, had confronted Hmong hunters on his land three or four times in 2003.
"Crotteau referred to them as mud ducks, that he was sick of them coming on his property," Hesebeck said. Hesebeck said Tuesday a "mud duck" was a reference to someone from Minnesota, but in a statement to investigators, Hesebeck said a "mud duck" was a Hmong person.


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