California Correctional Officers Shot

By Faye Higbee

Fresno – Two California correctional officers were shot on Saturday, and are in critical condition. The suspect, an ex-con who was released from prison in 2014, is in custody after opening fire in the lobby of the jail.

Deadly encounter

Thong Vang, 37, walked into the jail at around 8:30 a.m., pushed his way into the head of the line, and said he wanted to see someone who was in jail.

The Fresno Bee reported,

Vang tried to go to the front of the line but was told to go to the back. He began to show signs of bizarre behavior by pacing back and forth next to a metal detector at the back of the lobby that leads to a secure area of the jail.

When Davila approached and  told him to sit down, he opened fire, hitting Juanita Davila and Toamalama Scanlan, who had been working in the lobby area. Both were shot in the head and neck. The correctional officers who manned the lobby were not armed.

About 15 other visitors, including young children were there at the time and fled when gunshots rang out.

A correctional Lieutenant shot back at Vang, who returned fire. According to the Daily Mail, he was tased at some point, but refused to surrender until confronted by both Fresno County Deputies and a Fresno City officer. At that point he said he wanted to give up. He was arrested.

“I’m very proud of the way our personnel responded, ran towards danger even as shots were fired.” Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims

california correctional

Juanita Davila, and Toa Scanlan – Photo from Fresno County Sheriff

The deputies

Both corrections personnel were transported to a nearby hospital. Davila is in critical but stable condition, and Toa is critical, according to Sheriff Mims.

Toa Scanlan is a former Fresno State Football Player, and currently a lineman coach for Fresno Christian High School. Davila is a mother and grandmother who has worked at the jail for 18 years.

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Thong Vang. Photo via Fresno County Sheriff

Vang’s long criminal history

Thong Vang admitted that he played a part in running a Mongolian Boys Society sex-slave ring out of a local Motel 6  in 1998. The ring reportedly victimized Asian girls.The original case had 16 defendants accused of gang rape.

He was convicted of raping 3 children, ages 12 to 14, according to Fox News.

He was sentenced to 19 years in prison in September of that year, and was released in 2014 after spending 16 years behind bars.

Police stated he had not re-offended until this incident.

“This guy is a prison convict. He’s a parolee. Maybe that’s where he belongs.” Sheriff Mims