CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) --- A Cedar Rapids man accused of trying to kill his neighbors snapped after enduring years of property damage, racial slurs and hatred, his family said.

Joseph Pham, 42, a Vietnamese immigrant, allegedly shot Brian Wilson and fired at two others, Wilson's daughter, Jayden Wilson, and Tracy Moses, on Saturday. Brian Wilson was hit three times, police said. The others were not injured.

Police Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said Wilson, 39, was in the hospital on Monday, but she didn't know his condition. Sarah Corizzo, spokeswoman for St. Luke's Hospital, said Tuesday that no information on Wilson was available.

Pham remained in the Linn County jail on Tuesday. His attorney, Mathew Reilly, didn't return a telephone call by Tuesday afternoon.

Police said the shooting stemmed from a disagreement between the two men. Pham's family said it started years earlier, citing police reports, a restraining order and even a lawsuit as evidence of years of harassment from neighbors, including Wilson and Moses.

"It's hatred. They absolutely hate other people," Pham's daughter, Kathie Pham, told KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids.

She said the neighbors told them to go back to Vietnam because they weren't wanted in America.

Joseph Pham's niece, Erika Springer, said she also witnessed such treatment.

"When they (Brian Wilson and Moses) would have family over or friends, they would also harass my aunt and uncle," Springer said.

She said the neighbors said, "We don't want you here. You're not welcome here. Go back to where you came from."

Wilson's mother, Joane Wilson, told KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids that her son couldn't have been the one to blame for years of trouble. She said he moved into the house about one year ago. She declined further comment.

Pham filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Jamie Moses, Tracy Moses' ex-husband. Pham claimed, among other things, that Moses had broken two windows of the Phams' home, driven his vehicle in their yard, fired a shotgun over their property and thrown feces at Kathie Pham. The lawsuit seeks damages including for emotional distress, pain and suffering, property damage, punitive damages and court costs.

Kathie Pham said criminal charges were filed after a window was shot out during a sleepover.

"I got cuts and stuff and (a friend) got bruises on her leg," she said.

In October 2010, according to court records, Jamie Moses pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal mischief for breaking the window. He was ordered to pay a $100 fine for the simple misdemeanor.

The judge also filed a no-contact order between Jamie Moses and the Pham family, according to court records. But when Jamie Moses moved out and Brian Wilson moved in, Springer said, the harassment continued.

Springer said Saturday's incident began when Pham was working outside and Brian Wilson came up to the fence and started making racial slurs. He told Pham to come outside and fight him, she said, and then he went to the front door and started banging on it.

"I guess it escalated from there," Springer said.

After the shooting, Pham went inside his house and called his lawyer. Springer said Pham then came outside and was arrested.

(13) comments

slipstream
slipstream

If only "the Reverend" Al Sharpton could visit there would be no racial friction.

From Waterloo
From Waterloo

Well, the individual pushed too far and is lucky to be alive. There are breaking points, but the agressor was too dumb to see a bullet coming. I can't say I feel bad as both side appear to be fault. I hope the shooting victim recovers nicely and the shooter doesn't receive a stiff sentence. they should have taken this to court instead of shooting another person!

FDloo
FDloo

Such a sad story. Pham will be the one locked up and missing out on his family, while this other clown will be free to walk the streets. It's not right to shoot someone over such an incident, but enough was enough. The police should have done more--especially when it started to affect Pham's child and other children.

johnsbored
johnsbored

Stick sand stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me....unless I grab a gun and try to kill 3 people because of those words. If there was a physical fight I might be sympathetic (a little) to the shooter but I think he went just a little over the top with his reaction to a verbal exchange. This guy obviously had his head wired wrong to think mass (attempted) murder was a valid solution.

Kernel
Kernel

The whole thing is sad. No one should feel unwelcome to live in America because of their heritage. By the same token, no one has the right to bring violence to others, whether or not the words of others provoke them to it.

timbrackett
timbrackett

Everyone has a breaking point. Move to an area where you are a racial minority and have a neighbor from the racial majority subject you to years of abuse (verbal and nonverbal) and see what your reaction is. I believe violence is rarely (if ever) the answer, but I know many would have reacted more violently and much sooner.

riverdog
riverdog

KEEP IN MIND - Joseph Pham was well known to police for calling the police on almost all of his neighbors for various different reasons. The so-called abuse he received is well known to be nothing but paranoia. So just because his family says he was the victim, doesn't make it so. He fired SIXTEEN shots, including shots at a 14 year old girl. The man is a looney, and he will go away for the rest of his life.

romesfxst
romesfxst

This is for Slipstream: As usual you have a vindictive comment that never offers a thought out solution or anything to contribute to solve anything.

Steady
Steady

I find it very interesting that people are willing to give Pham a pass or at least try to mitigate his actions. What actions by the otherside justifies Deadly Force? I understand people have breaking points but nothing within this story justifies Pham's actions and he should receive the exact sentence as anyone who attempts to kill another.

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]timbrackett said: "Everyone has a breaking point. Move to an area where you are a racial minority and have a neighbor from the racial majority subject you to years of abuse (verbal and nonverbal) and see what your reaction is. I believe violence is rarely (if ever) the answer, but I know many would have reacted more violently and much sooner. "[/quote]

My reaction? Call the police. Repeat as necessary. Escalating from words to violence is not the right solution in this case.

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]Steady said: "I find it very interesting that people are willing to give Pham a pass or at least try to mitigate his actions. What actions by the otherside justifies Deadly Force? I understand people have breaking points but nothing within this story justifies Pham's actions and he should receive the exact sentence as anyone who attempts to kill another."[/quote]

Deadly force is only justified in the defense of your life, or the life of others, when all other avenues have been attempted.

Steady
Steady

[quote]IowanAtheist said: "Deadly force is only justified in the defense of your life, or the life of others, when all other avenues have been attempted."[/quote]

Let me help and expand a little further. A person is justified in the use of reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any imminent use of unlawful force. So you agree that Pham did not meet this requirement. Pham was not in imminent danger and certainly using deadly force is not a reasonable response to harassment.

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]Steady said: "Let me help and expand a little further. A person is justified in the use of reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any imminent use of unlawful force. So you agree that Pham did not meet this requirement. Pham was not in imminent danger and certainly using deadly force is not a reasonable response to harassment."[/quote]

Indeed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.