Fatal shooting at Stargate in Maplewood

Police say victim appears to have been aggressor

The Maplewood Police Department and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating a fatal shooting outside the Stargate nightclub in the early hours of Friday morning.

They have identified the victim as Chou "Tony" Yang, 20, of St. Paul.

A call came in at 12:52 a.m. that there had been a shooting outside the club, which is located at 1700 Rice St. in the Crown Plaza retail center.

Emergency responders found a man with a gunshot injury in the parking lot and transported him to Regions Medical Center, where he later died.

A chase, a scuffle

According to Police Chief Paul Schnell, firsthand accounts indicate one of the nightclub's armed security guards, who are contracted from JBM Patrol & Protection Services in Edina, was assaulted.

"Video evidence and witness statements indicate that the security officer was chased by the shooting victim and at least five other men from the area of the entrance of the nightclub," Schnell said in a statement. "After running out into the parking lot, the security officer fell to the ground and was swarmed and assaulted by the men who had been chasing after him."
At that point, the guard fired his weapon, hitting Yang. No one else was injured by the shot.
Schnell says Yang was judged to be in critical condition prior to transport to Regions. 
The police are withholding the name of the 28-year-old guard, who they say has been "fully cooperative" with the investigation.
Schnell added that the incident appears to have started after one of the men in the group was ejected from the club.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office will review information from the investigation once it's completed in order to consider potential charges.

Under new ownership
The venue at 1700 Rice Street has had its share of trouble -- more than its share, some long-term observers say.
In the mid-2000s, Stargate hit the radar of residents and the Maplewood City Council with a spate of assaults, including stabbings and shootings. Police and neighbors reported fights that spilled out of the club into the parking lot and adjacent neighborhoods, both on regular nights and during 18-to-21 gatherings.
In 2006, Police Chief Dave Thomalla reported more than a hundred calls to Stargate over an 18-month span, in a presentation asking the council to raise liquor license fees to help address police time spent responding to nightclubs.
In 2007, the calls continued, including on in which a bystander was injured by a gunshot after a woman went to her car, got a weapon and apparently fired at a group of people in the parking lot.
In 2008, Thomalla reported more than a hundred calls to emergencies at Stargate in the first 10 months of the year, including people randomly firing weapons at the restaurant and cutting one another with glass. 
Things seemed to calm down in 2009, after new ownership changed the venue's name and focus.
In a 2009 Review article, new owner Mai Lee Vang, speaking to the City Council promised to change the club's focus to the 25- to 44-year-old crowd, and changing Stargate's description from "nightclub" to "dance club."
Current owner Paul Paoye Xiong purchased the club in 2014, changing its name back to "Stargate Nightclub." He secured a liquor license from the Maplewood City Council Jan. 12.

When the investigation is completed, the information will be submitted to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office for review and consideration of potential charges.
—Holly Wenzel


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