MILWAUKEE – A cluster of flowers adorned the small, concrete doorstep of an apartment building in a blue-collar neighborhood Friday as relatives remembered three people shot and killed there as hardworking and family-oriented.
True Vue said her brother, Phia Vue, and his wife, Mai Vue, were a "very loving couple."
Xiomara Manso, meanwhile, said her brother, Jesus Manso-Perez, put his family first and moved to Milwaukee six years ago from Puerto Rico to give his two children "a better future." All he ever did, she said, "was work and go home."
The Vues and Manso-Perez were shot Sunday in front of their children in the four-unit apartment building on Milwaukee's southwest side, according to police.
A neighbor, Dan J. Popp, 39, has been charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths. He also faces a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide because authorities said he shot at Manso-Perez's 18-year-old son, Jesus Manso-Carrasquillo.
Milwaukee police spokesman Tim Gauerke said officers were investigating and working to determine a motive.
Popp, according to the criminal complaint, attacked Manso-Perez and his son as they were coming upstairs after putting a load of clothes into the washing machine. Before they went to the basement, the document states, Popp had asked where they were from, to which they replied "Puerto Rico." Popp, who is white, then said, "Oh, that's why you don't speak English," the complaint says.
When they came back up, Popp was waiting with a long gun, police say. He told the father and son, "You guys got to go," and shot Manso-Perez, according to the complaint.
Manso-Carrasquillo ran down the stairs and outside, where he alerted people who called 911, police say.
Shortly afterward, according to the criminal complaint, Popp burst into the Vues' apartment. The family had fled into bedrooms when they heard the shooting, but Popp forced his way inside, led Phia Vue out and killed him, police say.
Popp then started to drag Mai Vue and her two young daughters out of the apartment, the document states. Authorities found Mai Vue dead in Popp's apartment.
Police, responding to an active shooter call, took Popp into custody without a struggle.
Popp will undergo a competency exam, which his lawyer, Christopher Hartley, requested. Hartley did not return phone and email messages seeking comment Friday.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said his office was "aware of concerns about the people who were targeted." He added, "we'll continue to evaluate those issues as the case moves forward."
The Vues were members of Milwaukee's Hmong community. The Hmong American Friendship Association was helping family members organize a vigil scheduled for Sunday evening and spread the word about a memorial fund to help with funeral costs.
"This has been really hard for all of us," True Vue said.
She said her 89-year-old father, Seng Vue, couldn't believe his son died. "All he did was cry. He couldn't believe it happened."
True Vue said her brother was a "Mr. Mom" who took care of the family's four children. She said her sister-in-law had just gotten a business degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and that "they had a bright future, not knowing in the blink of an eye, it would be gone."
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