Fresno County jail shooter is also a liar, DA says

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A jury is now deciding whether the Fresno County jail shooter is guilty of attempted murder and assault on two correctional officers.

Video from the jail lobby makes it clear Thong Vang fired the first shot in the jail, but his attorney says he still had a right to self-defense.

Vang fired the first shot into a window as Officer Juanita Davila tried to move him away from a metal detector in the lobby.

Prosecutor William Lacy says Vang fired four more shots before any correctional officers got off a shot in his direction. And Vang admitted in his own testimony that he specifically shot at Officer Malama Scanlan in a way that could easily kill him.

"Vang stated he was aiming at a vulnerable place," Lacy told the jury. "He knew Scanlan had a vest on. He knew that a .380, if he shot him in the vest, wouldn't be effective, so he shot him in the top of the head."

Defense attorney Richard Esquivel says Vang just wanted to go to jail - he said so at least six times - and his use of methamphetamine prevented him from forming the intent to commit attempted murder.

"What Mr. Vang was suffering from at the time was a very intense paranoia and it had been building over time," Esquivel said.

He also argued Vang acted in self-defense -- even though he fired the first shot, and he admitted he knew Davila was unarmed when he shot her in the face.

Lacy says Vang even cursed at Scanlan after shooting him twice, paralyzing him.

"He's mad," the prosecutor said. "He never shoots at Lt. (Michael) Porter -- this is the guy who's got a gun -- never shoots at him. He shoots at the unarmed people, the people with no guns."

Lacy says the bottom line is Vang is a liar, and he was the initial aggressor unless you believe Juanita Davila deserved to get shot in the face for grabbing his elbow to get him out of the lobby.

Vang faces more than 100 years to life in prison if he's convicted on all five charges.
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