Charges: St. Paul man gunned down Minneapolis man as he left work

The Dec. 26 killing was St. Paul's 31st homicide of 2019.
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Chee Kong Yang

A St. Paul man remains in jail after being charged for the murder of a Minneapolis man who was gunned down as he left work Dec. 26. 

Antonio Espana-Estrada, 37, walked out of J&P Trading at 295 State Street in St. Paul around 5:25 p.m. that day and was almost immediately shot dead, according to charging documents. The man charged for Espana-Estrada's killing is Chee Kong Yang, 28, of St. Paul. 

A criminal complaint details St. Paul's 31st homicide of 2019, alleging that Yang was arguing with his girlfriend in a minivan in the parking lot of J&P Trading when he got out of the van, ran up to Espana-Estrada and shot him once or twice in the torso. 

Witnesses told police that Yang, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, started running back towards the van only to stop, go back to his victim and shoot Espana-Estrada multiple times as he lay on the ground. 

Espana-Estrada was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul and died a short time later. 

Yang, after the shooting, ran back to the van and sped away, witnesses told police. Moments later, St. Paul Police received word of a hit-and-run crash at Hwy. 52 and Concord Ave., which is 1.3 miles from the crime scene. 

At 5:36 p.m., St. Paul Police were sent to the intersection of Sycamore and Jackson streets on a report of a woman down in the street. There, police found a female victim, later identified as Yang's girlfriend, suffering from a non-critical neck injury. 

Also near the scene was a fence on the south side of Jackson Cemetery that had been damaged by a minivan that drove through it. The van was found abandoned inside the cemetery, with Yang allegedly running from the vehicle only to be tailed by a passerby who pointed police in his direction. 

Police took Yang into custody while a K-9 was able to locate a gray hooded sweatshirt that had recently been discarded in the cemetery. Officers reviewed surveillance footage from the scene of the shooting and the found that the van there had similarities to the van abandoned in the cemetery, including both having two-tone paint and missing hub caps. 

Yang's girlfriend told investigators that she and Yang were drinking beer at Yang's mother's house before driving to St. Paul's West Side and pulling into a parking lot by a warehouse. 

The woman said they were sitting in the van when she heard a click, leading her to believe that Yang had a gun. She attempted to stop him from exiting the vehicle but she said Yang "popped out of the van and started shooting everywhere," the criminal complaint says. 

Police located at least six 9-millimeter shell casings at the scene of the shooting, but a gun had not been recovered at the time the charging documents were filed. 

Yang has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held in Ramsey County Jail. 

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