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Leung Ying
Leung Ying
Mug shot of Leung Ying
Background information
Born ca. 1899
Died

October 22, 1928
San Quentin Prison, United States

Cause of death Suicide
Penalty Sentenced to death
Attack information
Date August 22, 1928
Location(s) Fairfield, California, United States
Killed 11
Weapon(s) Hatchet
.25-35 lever-action rifle[1]

Leung Ying (also known as Loy Yeung) was a Chinese farm labourer who killed 11 people on a farm near Fairfield, California, United States on August 22, 1928, before escaping the scene. He was arrested by police the next day and sentenced to death on August 31. Ying committed suicide in his prison cell on October 22, about two weeks prior to his set execution date.[2][3][4]

It was the worst case of mass murder in Californian history at the time, and remained so until July 18, 1984, when James Oliver Huberty killed 21 people at a McDonald's restaurant in San Diego.[5]

LifeEdit

Ying, who also went by the names Wong Gay and Lim Onn,[5] had been arrested by San Francisco police in 1924 as a gunman and narcotics peddler. He had a reputation as a killer, boasting he had killed three people in a tong war, and was generally regarded as a "bad" person.[1] For some time he lived in San Jose and worked there at a local packing plant. He was a member of the Hop Sing Tong, until he was expelled due to his excessive use of narcotics.[5]

For three months he was employed as a cook or fruit picker at the Bryan ranch five miles from Fairfield, which was leased by Wong Gee. Ying was eventually dismissed for either assaulting or having an affair with Wong Gee's daughter Nellie.[6]

Six months prior to Leung Ying's attack on the ranch, another Chinese worker had run amok there with an axe and set fire to two buildings, before he was shot by Wong Gee. The killing was later declared an act of self-defense by the superior court.[1]

MurdersEdit

On August 22, 1928, Ying, armed with a rifle and a hatchet, and under the influence of cocaine,[7] returned to the ranch and attacked the residents and workers there.

According to reports, the 29-year-old first entered what was variously identified as an underground gambling room, or a dugout, where Wong Gee attempted to wake two farm hands.[1] He shot Wong Gee through the heart and also killed worker Cheung Yueng. Both were later found by police lying fully dressed on a bed. The other farm laborer, Wa Wey, was fatally wounded by a shot in the back, when he was trying to run away.[1]

Next the killer went to the house of Wong Gee's brother, Wong Hueng, who had locked himself in and attempted to hide under a bed, though Ying shot through a window, hitting him in the abdomen. Ying then made his way to the home of the cook on the ranch, 61-year-old Low Shek, who was wounded in his cabin by a shot through the stomach. Low Shek was later brought to Fairfield hospital, where he died after a few hours.[8]

While proceeding through a pear orchard towards the home of Wong Gee, Ying shot and killed worker Yeung Soon. At the door of the house he killed Wong Gee's wife with a shot between the eyes and decapitated the 2 week old baby in her arms with the hatchet, before walking into the children's room. There he shot Wong Gee's 4-year-old son, Johnnie, through the head at close range, before using his axe to crush the skull of 3-year-old Willie Wong, who was lying in his bed. Ying also fatally wounded 15-year-old Nellie Wong by shooting her in the back, after she had jumped out of a window and tried to escape through the orchard. She died in Vallejo hospital on August 27, becoming Leung Ying's eleventh and final victim.[9] Two other of Wong Gee's children, Ruth and Helen, managed to escape unharmed by hiding under a bed.[1][10]

Leung Ying arrest

Leung Ying shortly after his arrest.

After mutilating the body of Mrs. Wong with the hatchet, Leung Ying eventually escaped in an automobile owned by Wong Gee. In less than 20 minutes he had killed or fatally wounded eleven people and injured four others.[11][12] The next day, after abandoning his car and rifle, Ying was captured by police, while sleeping in a tank house near the Empire mine in Grass Valley. He was taken to Nevada City, where he was held until the arrival of the Fairfield authorities.[5][13]

VictimsEdit

  • Wong E. Gee
  • Mrs. Wong Gee
  • Nellie Wong, 15, daughter of Wong Gee
  • Johnnie Wong, 4, son of Wong Gee
  • Willie Wong, 3, son of Wong Gee
  • Unnamed infant, 2 weeks old, child of Wong Gee
  • Wong Hueng, 56, brother of Wong Gee
  • Wa Wey, 40
  • Low Shek, 61
  • Yeung Soon, 40
  • Cheung Yueng, 64

AftermathEdit

During his interrogation Ying readily admitted to having committed the murders, and stated that he had seen the police officers trailing him during the night, and, although he had the opportunity to shoot them at any time, he refrained from doing so, because he feared he would be hanged, if he killed a white man. Asked for the motive behind his rampage, Ying initially recited the story of his love for a Chinese girl and the disapproval of this relationship by her family. Furthermore he stated that the Wong Gee family tried to kill him with poisoned food, so he killed them first,[7][14] while he later told that incessant teasing had pushed him to commit the murders.[15] He also expressed his admiration for Joe Tanko and Floyd Hall, two notorious criminals who were active in California between 1923 and 1926, saying: "I just like Tanko and Hall - very, very sick."[6]

The night after his arrest Leung Ying attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself with a blanket. After this attempt was foiled by prison guards he spent the night beating his head against the floor and walls, crying for narcotics.[16] The next day, on August 24, Leung was arraigned at the Superior Court in Suisun City, where again he admitted committing the murders, stating he wished he had the opportunity to kill half a dozen more.[17]

After pleading guilty, Ying was sentenced to death by hanging on August 31, 1928. His execution was to take place on November 9 of the same year.[18][19]

On October 22, 1928, between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., Leung Ying committed suicide in his prison cell in San Quentin Prison by hanging himself with a towel.[20][21]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Slayer of 10 captured at Grass Valley, Oakland Tribune (August 23, 1928)
  2. Eleven Chinese, Time (September 3, 1928)
  3. *Runs amuck and kills 10, The New York Times (August 23, 1928)
  4. Capture California Chinese Killer, The New York Times (August 24, 1928)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Dope was cause of sad deed, San Jose News (August 23, 1928)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Romance and drugs inspired killings, The Palm Beach Post (August 24, 1928)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Confesses killing 10, Woodland Daily Democrat (August 23, 1928)
  8. Nine Chinese slain, six wounded when cook runs amuck, The Bakersfield Californian (August 22, 1928)
  9. Eleventh victim of Chinese dies, San Jose News (August 27, 1928)
  10. 10 killed as Chinese maniac spreads terror in Fairfield, Woodland Daily Democrat (August 22, 1928)
  11. Chinese family shot down by Tong murderer, The Oxnard Daily Courier (August 22, 1928)
  12. Ten killed by ranch cook, The Beaver Daily Times (August 23, 1928)
  13. Slayer of ten found hiding in hen house, Ellensburg Daily Record (August 23, 1928)
  14. Chinese slayer of ten admits crimes; won't give motive, The Danville Bee (August 24, 1928)
  15. Waters, Tony: When killing is a crime; Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc, 2007. ISBN 978-1-58826-514-2
  16. Killer foiled in suicide try, San Jose News (August 24, 1928)
  17. Wanted to kill more, The Montreal Gazette (August 25, 1928)
  18. Will hang slayer..., Sandusky Star-Journal (September 1, 1928)
  19. Killer of 11 is slated to die, San Jose News (September 1, 1928)
  20. Cellmate raises no cry, San Jose News (October 23, 1928)
  21. Chinese salyer kills self, Woodland Daily Democrat (October 23, 1928)

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

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