New video from Fresno County jail shooting and victim's perspective as trial opens

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 08:13PM

FRESNO, Calif. - For the first time, we're hearing a firsthand account and seeing the video of the shooting at the Fresno County jail that severely injured two correctional officers in 2016.

The trial started Wednesday against the shooter, Thong Vang.

Video from the jail lobby shows Officer Juanita Davila confronting Vang and trying to get him to follow the rules. They walk out of frame on the right-hand side of the screen, but you can still hear the exchange leading up to the gunfire.

"I'd rather go to jail," Vang said. "I want to go to jail."

"No you don't," Davila said.

Right after her response, chaos erupted when Vang opened fire, and Davila knew right away a bullet had hit her.

VIDEO: Footage of Fresno County Jail shooting presented in trial

"I was aware that I was shot in the neck," she said. "Like I said, I was losing my hearing and I felt warm blood coming from my neck."

As she struggled to get her bearings, she told someone peeking out of a bathroom to stay hidden, then noticed Officer Malama Scanlan on the ground about 20 feet away.

"He was face down and blood was coming from his mouth," she said

Dramatic video was presented in court Wednesday showing the moment a man opened fire at the Fresno County Jail, critically injuring two correctional officers.

The footage is being shown at Thong Vang's trial. The video was taken from injured officer Malama Scanlan's taser camera which shows the moment Vang shot Scanlan.

"Toamalama Scanlan suffered devastating injuries as a result of being shot," said prosecutor William Lacy. "He hasn't spoken. He hasn't walked. He hasn't eaten on his own since this incident."

Action News visited Scanlan in a Houston rehab center last year and saw just how slowly his recovery has progressed.

He had tried to use pepper spray on Vang, then a taser, which recorded video of the moment Vang shot him. He got hit twice in the head and the arm.

Vang is an undocumented immigrant with a felony history, but because he's Hmong, he has no native country to which he could be deported. Neither Thailand nor Laos would take him.

His defense attorney is arguing Vang couldn't form the intent to commit attempted murder because of another piece of his history.

"You're going to hear that my client was under the influence of methamphetamine that day," said defense attorney Richard Esquivel. "You're going to hear that he's a longtime user."

If he is convicted on all the charges, Vang faces 102 years to life in prison.

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks.

VIDEO: Footage of Fresno County Jail shooting presented in trial
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