Merced teen in officer-involved shooting walks free

MERCED, Calif.

Back in December, police shot Kong Xiong in the leg after officers spotted him with a gun. The bullets also hit Xiong's 21-year-old Uncle, Vang Thao, who was standing behind a fence in the yard. Thao died from his injuries.

On Monday night, Xiong was almost in tears as he walked unshackled with his family for the first time since the shooting happened. He was sentenced the same morning to three years of probation and one year of jail time, but was released hours later because of time already spent behind bars.

As soon as the doors opened at the correctional facility, Xiong's family rushed in to celebrate and welcome him with open arms.

"We're all excited," said his brother, Jer Thao. "My mother has been crying about it and… hopefully we can just start a better life this time, start over new again."

Xiong was arrested December third at a home on Buckingham Court after officers responded to a call of a man with a gun.

A video of the incident was recorded by a camera on one of the officer's glasses. It shows the 18-year-old being shot in the leg after the police spotted a gun in the teen's hand.

Xiong survived, but police mistakenly shot his 21-year-old Uncle who was standing behind a fence.

"I was just depressed my Uncle passed away. That really hurt," said Xiong.

A jury convicted Xiong in May for illegally possessing a firearm because he was on probation at the time. He appeared in court again Monday morning for sentencing.

"I just feel there's still a chance he could be rehabilitated and it's worth taking that chance," said Judge Carol Ash.

Ash said Xiong expressed remorse for the shooting and sentenced him to 36 months of probation and jail time he's already served.

She also warned him that if he doesn't stay away from gangs he could be the person who ends up dead.

When Action News reporter Linda Mumma talked with Xiong after his release, it appeared as if he had taken the court's message to heart.

"I just want to go home, change, be a good man, you know? Have a good life with my family," said Xiong. "I was in here and now I'm really glad that I got out today."

Xiong also talked about going back to school, getting a job and being a productive citizen. He also vowed to "get his life together.

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