A 19-year-old St. Paul man has been charged in connection with a fatal shooting that took place on Sunday.
Aloeng Vang has been charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of 50-year-old Jeffrey Elling, of St. Paul, who confronted Vang for driving recklessly through the neighborhood.
According to charges, Vang left, got a gun, knocked on Elling's door and shot him when he answered the door.
Officers were called to Elling's home on the 1400 block of York Avenue shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday to a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, they found Elling suffering an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to charges, Elling and his girlfriend were outside smoking a cigarette on the porch when they saw an animal cross the road and decided to follow it. While they were trying to find it, a Toyota came speeding around the corner from Birmingham Street and began driving east on York Avenue, nearly striking Elling and his girlfriend. The car then stopped along York Avenue.
Vang got out of the car when Elling went to confront him over his driving. Charging documents claim Vang appeared intoxicated and fell to the ground from the push. The two men continued to talk, but Vang then went inside 1435 York Avenue and Elling and his girlfriend returned to sit on their front steps.
Several minutes later, a woman approached Elling and asked about the altercation with Vang. Elling said he was upset about Vang's driving, then he and his girlfriend went inside their home. Shortly thereafter, Elling got up to answer the door while his girlfriend sat in the kitchen. As Elling opened the door, his girlfriend heard two shots and the glass front door shatter. She told police she then saw Elling fall out onto the front steps and out of view.
Officers arrived and pronounced Elling dead at the scene. A bullet wound was visible at the base of his neck and his shirt saturated with blood. His right leg was on the front stoop and left foot inside the home on the entry mat.
While officers scoured the scene, Vang ducked underneath crime-scene tape and said, "I'm the guy you're looking for."
Police spoke to Vang's wife who heard part of the initial altercation and heard Vang yell to Elling, "Are we cool, bro?" Vang then walked past his wife into the house without saying anything to her. About ten minutes later, Vang left and his wife heard two shots. About 20 minutes later, Vang returned and his wife pleaded for him to tell her that he didn't fire the gun. Vang told her to trust him and said, "You should know me."
Vang eventually admitted he shot Elling, saying "I should have just whooped his ass," and that he was angry following their altercation. Vang said his shots weren't supposed to hit Elling, but rather, he was just trying to frighten him.
If convicted, Vang could serve a maximum 40 years behind bars. He remains in Ramsey County Jail on $1 million bail.
Family members told FOX 9 News Elling survived a motorcycle accident and chemotherapy, and they were shocked to learn he was shot to death after confronting a driver in his own neighborhood.
"His girlfriend called him the protector of the neighborhood 'cause he was always telling kids to get out of the way," Cathy Lorentzen explained.
Describing Elling as a funny man who loved pranks and worked for his family's moving company, Lorentzen said going to miss her brother's practical jokes.
"My niece, Jeff's daughter, really summed it up. She said, 'It's just terrible,'" Lorentzen said. "It's not like cancer or a car accident. It was totally preventable, and it was a rage thing that stole her dad's life -- and it doesn't make any sense."
Incredibly, Lorentzen said she hopes for mercy for Vang because she has faith in the power of forgiveness.
"Just because I forgive someone doesn't mean what they did was OK," she continued, "but it's got to start somewhere."
Vang admitted to relatives he was angry because he felt Elling disrespected him, but that reason is admittedly baffling to Elling's family.
"I don't know where the anger was coming from in this kid, I just know it was pure evil and I would love to see it stop now," Lorentzen said.
Elling is survived by his daughter -- who turned 21 on Tuesday -- and six brothers and sisters.