Crime & Courts

Detective says 2011 homicide is third involving feuding gangs

The Dec. 30, 2011, fatal shootout in the parking lot of a southeast Wichita restaurant grew out of a simmering feud between two street gangs that were involved in two other homicides, a Wichita police gang expert told a jury Monday.

Wichita police said the gangs were exchanging gunfire outside the Bai Wei restaurant at 1845 S. Rock Road when Kao Saechao, 19, was struck in the head and killed.

A friend of Saechao, Steven Louis, 23, is standing trial for felony murder for his role in the shootout. Prosecutors said Louis and Saechao were members of agang. The trial, which entered its sixth day on Monday, is expected to wrap up this week.

Among the state’s final witnesses was Wichita police Detective Chad Beard. He said the Asian Boyz and Viet Boyz gangs were historically allies, with brothers from the same family sometimes joining different gangs.

For Asian Boyz, Beard said, Dec. 26 is a considered a significant date because the abbreviation “12/26” can represent the first, second and 26th letters in the alphabet – or A-B-Z – a shorthand symbol for the Asian Boyz.

Beard said the alliance between the two gangs ended on Dec. 26, 2009, when members of the Asian Boyz and Viet Boyz were celebrating together at the Da Nang Restaurant at 1556 N. Broadway. A fight broke out between members of the gangs, he said. Eric Pou, 25, was shot to death. Thanh Do later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison.

Beard said the second homicide involving the gangs occurred when Thoung Phan was shot to death near the Bai Wei restaurant on May 28, 2011. That homicide has never been solved.

Louis is charged with the third homicide involving the gangs, and he is charged with participating in a drive-by shooting that occurred about a mile from the restaurant shortly after the shooting.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle