Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It was apparently not for money, revenge or anything personal.   The beating death of a 72-year old Vietnamese immigrant in south St. Louis was just part of a game. 

St. Louis police revealing that their investigation into the weekend murder of Hoang Nguyen discovered his death was “part of a game which involves unprovoked attacks on innocent bystanders.”

Nguyen and his wife were walking home down an alley in the 3800 block of Spring around 10:45 Saturday morning, when they were beaten by a group of four people in their 20s.  

Punched in the eye, but recovering,  the victim’s wife, Yen Nguyen told investigators they were not robbed and they did not know their attackers.

Charges are announced against 18-year old Elex Murphy, of the 5400 block of Geraldine.   He’s charged with 1st Degree Murder, 1st Degree Assault, and two counts of Armed Criminal Action.

Judge Elizabeth Hogan ordered Murphy held without bond. 

Police say the investigation to identify the other three suspects and witnesses is ongoing and detectives have some strong leads. 

Copyright KMOX

KMOX’s previous story:

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The beating death in St. Louis of a 72-year-old immigrant from Vietnam has left friends and family stunned, and police searching for the killers.

Hoang Nguyen died Saturday. He was beaten to death by a group of four people believed to be in their 20s — two men and two women — as he and his wife, Yen, walked home through an alley after going to a Vietnamese market, pushing a week’s worth of groceries in a cart.

Yen, 59, was also punched in the face and suffered a fractured eye socket. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she and her husband did not know the attackers.

“He said ‘No, no, no,’” Yen said, showing how one of the men grabbed her husband’s jacket near his neck and pushed him up against a wall. Hoang was punched in the head and fell to the ground. The same man then hit Yen in her right eye. As her husband tried to get up to assist her, a second man kicked Hoang and he fell again, hitting his head. His brain swelled, and he died later that day at a hospital.

“It’s a random, out-of-the-blue, brutal assault,” said St. Louis police Capt. Michael Sack. “It’s uncalled for. It’s just senseless. It boggles the mind.”

The motive for the attack is unclear and the attackers said nothing to their victims. They were not robbed. He had $68 in his pocket; she was wearing a necklace.

Police hope a surveillance video leads them to the killers.

The attack happened behind Palic Car Shoppe. Owner Mirsad Palic found the couple in the alley and their son, who had been called by his mother, screaming for help. Palic said the attack itself didn’t surprise him because the business he has run for nine years has been the target of burglars in the past.

Hoang and his wife came to the U.S. three years ago to be with their daughter and son, both living in St. Louis.

“He was really happy to come over,” said Hoang’s daughter, Lan, 35. Her father was taking English classes, hoping to become a U.S. citizen. He had taught elementary school in Vietnam.

“He loved living here. The freedom. The human rights,” Lan said.

Lan cannot understand why strangers would kill her father and brutally beat her mother.

“What if it happened to their mom or dad?” she asked. “What are they feeling?”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press

Comments (14)
  1. Nancy McDuffie says:

    This is one of the saddest stories I have read. To think these people came to the United States to live a free and happy life and then were brutally attacked near their home. Why are they living in areas that people who live here know not to even go near? Shame on St. Louis City. Shame on the people who have let the city turn into a nightmare.

    1. brad says:

      What about shame on the people that did this? The city of St. Louis can’t be held responsible for the actions of people that live in a certain area. These people are animals and there is nothing the city can do about this, only their parents, who are probably not part of their lives.

  2. alissa bryant says:

    Its so sad…those people where old and didnt do anything…young people have lost there minds and souls…

  3. jojocross says:

    Sad. Hell yes its sad. That whole area is sad. Nothing but a bunch of street monkeys. We need to band together and go over there and exterminate those people. I can guarantee NO ONE would miss them….Think about it….do you think their employers will miss them? no. they don’t have jobs. Do you think the government will miss them. no. they don’t pay taxes. Do you think their mothers will miss them? no. They’re on crack.

  4. John says:

    In the article the police sergeant calls this random and out of the blue. Bull****. This is all these Street Monkeys have on their mind. Its not random. Its what they do. I say lock em all up.

  5. BRENDA says:

    these young punks need to just stop and think, ohh they are to stupid to think shame on all of them i hope it eats at them forever what if it was thier familky member how stupid, god bless the families of this poor dear man i hope the jerk is locked up forever….

  6. former slay supporter says:

    and St Louis/mayor slay wants to cut city Fire , EMS, & police budgets????
    it blows me away that we defend aldermen spending tens of thousands on vanity street signs mayoral aides, and other friviolous silly projects, i’ve said it before & I’ll say it again St Louis city is a public safety “special needs child” and ALL other city operations & expendatures SHOULD TAKE A BACK SEAT, behind public safety needs.
    this and our chaotic deplorable schools are exactly why stl is not, nor will ever be a family frendly city.

  7. Gene J. says:

    I have to point out that the news stories about this horrible incident are strangely absent of any mention of race of the attackers. Especially now that one of them has been charged. Had this been white people beating up an old black couple and killing an old black man, there would be riots in the streets and every black political figured would be here staging walks through the city. Plus, why are they referring to these hoodlums as “teenagers” or “kids”? The one charged is 18 and old enough to have joined the military. The news needs to stop softening the story and tell it like it really is.

  8. Frank says:

    There is something that can be done about this. These thugs need to be set on fire while they are still alive. This needs to be done in public in the area where the crime occurred. I know, “What about cruelty and inhuman punishment”. Well, we are dealing with savages here who could care less about the law, and they need to be dealt with separately. You would only have to do this about 1/2 a dozen times in each big city before they realize that we mean business. Any other punishment is just a waste of time and further inviting crimes like this to continue.

  9. sensibility says:

    The Vienamese man was not only 72 years old but he was probably short and diminutive. I’m a little shorty and I’ve always been an easy target. The police do an amazing job considering the odds against them. But the Police just can’t handle the amount of crime in the city these days. It might be time to bring back the Mafia. Those cowardly bullys won’t be punching senior citizens or anyone else if they have broken thumbs.

  10. taton says:

    read this article make me sick to my stomach, stop this stupid cowardly game!!! my heart goes out to the victim family

  11. Admit It says:

    When will people admit that the problem is a racial one? Nobody knew these people better than the old Southerners and nobody knew how to manage them better either. We dismantled all that and let government take over their upbringing and this is one result.

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