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Old June 13, 2002, 01:17 PM   #1
Drizzt
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Iowan who wanted to surprise her fiance dies in accidental shooting

Copyright 2002 The Omaha World-Herald Company
Omaha World-Herald


June 12, 2002, Wednesday MIDLANDS EDITION

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1A;

LENGTH: 643 words

HEADLINE: Iowan who wanted to surprise her fiance dies in accidental shooting

BYLINE: By Julie Anderson

SOURCE: WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

DATELINE: Council Bluffs

BODY:
A 21-year-old Pella, Iowa, woman died early Tuesday after what was intended as a happy surprise turned to tragedy in her fiance's home on the east edge of Council Bluffs.

Pang Yang was shot about 6:45 p.m. Monday by her fiance, Benjamin Kult, 25, after Yang and her sister Minah Yang, 11, jumped out of a basement closet at 119 Rosebud Lane to surprise Kult, said Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker.

Pang Yang earlier had called Kult at work to tell him she was going home to Pella, Danker said.

After Kult came home, he heard a noise in the basement, picked up his handgun and went to investigate. After the sisters jumped out, the gun went off. Pang Yang was taken to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha with a head wound. Minah Yang was unharmed.

"It appears it was a very tragic accidental shooting," Danker said.

Pottawattamie County Attorney Rick Crowl said he had not reviewed all the facts in the case, but he didn't think charges would be filed against Kult.

Kult, a 1996 graduate of Lewis Central High School, works full time for Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs. He also works part time as a customer service representative for Commercial Federal Bank in Omaha.

"On behalf of the company, we were very saddened to hear about this tragic event," said Carol Gotch, a bank spokeswoman. "Our thoughts are with Ben and his family as well as the Yang family."

On Sunday, Kult asked Pang Yang to marry him, said the Rev. Mark Pries, pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Pella.

Yang, a bright, bubbly woman who was studying at Central College in Pella to become a teacher, was visiting Kult for the weekend, Pries said.

"This congregation is just devastated," he said. "She's just beautiful, in and out."

Danker said Yang had gone shopping Monday afternoon. She returned to Kult'sPang Yang

home and called him at work about 3:30 p.m. using a calling card so he couldn't tell from where she placed the call. She moved her car down the street.

Kult came home and sat down to eat. Yang and her sister, hidden in the basement closet, made a noise. Kult picked up his .40-caliber Glock handgun and went downstairs. He noticed the closet door was open. Usually, it was closed.

The sisters jumped out. The gun went off. Kult told the girl to call authorities.

Pries, the pastor, said the shooting death is not the first tragedy in the family. Pang Yang's father, You Lee Yang, who died in the late 1990s, was shot decades ago while escaping from war-torn Laos with a young son.

You Lee Yang met and married Pang Yang's mother, Mai V. Yang, in a refugee camp in Thailand. The couple came to the United States and eventually settled in Pella in the late 1980s.

In the 1990s, one of Pang Yang's brothers was shot and killed as a child in a hunting accident, said Sue Cerwinske, a member of the church.

Kult and Yang made a striking couple at church - he standing over 6 feet tall and she barely 5 feet tall, Cerwinske said.

Yang would stop and give her a hug when she was in her building, Cerwinske said. She also sent people cheerful little notes.

"It's just such a tragic loss for all of us here at Central," Cerwinske said. "She was just such a positive person, did so many things for people."

Yang, who would have been a senior at Central College next fall, was involved in a number of activities, including plays and a local program similar to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.

Matt Diehl, Central's head wrestling coach, met Yang through Upward Bound, a college preparatory program. Yang also baby-sat Diehl's two children, who loved her.

"She was awesome," he said. "She was incredibly compassionate to people."

Yang's other survivors include siblings Pao Choua, Yonah, Adam, Chung, Naomi and Ruth Yang.



LOAD-DATE: June 12, 2002


Such a shame..... And you KNOW this one is going to get cited against us......
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Old June 13, 2002, 01:26 PM   #2
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It sure will. I wish there was some way to get people to take some training. But I suppose to many (far too many) people think a handgun is just like the ab-buster in the basement...having it will solve all their problems.
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Old June 13, 2002, 01:26 PM   #3
AugustWest
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1.This is terribly sad, and I'm not sure I could live with myself if I shot a loved one.

2."...the gun went off." :barf:
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Old June 13, 2002, 02:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
After the sisters jumped out, the gun went off.
Feathered horses !
The gun was fired.
The lady was regrettably and terminally stupid.
She died and her fiance has a terrible burden to bear forever tho he did right.

No winner, losers all round; forever.

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Old June 13, 2002, 02:45 PM   #5
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Obviously "the gun just went off" :barf:

Still though, I don't think it's a shooter training issue as much as it is a terminal stupidy issue. One DOES NOT hide out in someone's house and jump out to "scare" them. Expecially when said someone is known to you to be regularly armed, or to keep a weapon at home (being his fiance, I'd HAVE to think she'd know that).

I mean really.. who here would volunteer to hide in, say, Tam's closet to try to spook her? Presuming you could wriggle in past the rifles and then stand up without setting off the claymore, I mean.

Simply, Don't Taunt Tigers.


The Tiger might not know its a game.


-K
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Old June 13, 2002, 02:54 PM   #6
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How horribly tragic for all involved. Several gross errors in judgment.

In the current state of the world, I will not be jumping out of a closet to surprise anyone. And I will be absolutely sure before I mash the trigger. There is no recalling a bullet.

I nearly had a tragedy at home recently...Wife woke me up and said "I heard something in the front room" Picked up the KP90 and started clearing the rooms. I had just checked out the front room, when she came up behind me silently (still on carpeted area), jabs me in the ribs and says "See anything?"



After cleaning the 'stains' from the carpet, we had a long tactical discussion, focused on "Don't sneak up and poke me when I am clearing the house. It could be very ugly"
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Old June 13, 2002, 03:20 PM   #7
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I guess that's what he gets for messing around with kults!
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Old June 13, 2002, 03:21 PM   #8
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The gun did not just go off, the trigger was pulled.:barf: :barf:



Quote:
Simply, Don't Taunt Tigers.


The Tiger might not know its a game.
I can't say it any better.

I agree with foghornl about houseclearing. I need to prep my family.

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Old June 13, 2002, 03:24 PM   #9
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Didn't we have this discussion not so long ago?

No, you cannot shoot anyone in your house. Kaylee, we shall see whether "the tiger" ends up in a cage or not. The tiger better know where its claws are going.

Your house is not a free fire zone. Rough way to learn about Rule #4.
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Old June 13, 2002, 03:26 PM   #10
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Tragic but avoidable. My wife and I have an explicit agreement: no surprising each other. We call and wake the other if arriving home late, no going "boo", no surprise parties, etc., just to avoid this kind of thing (in addition to minding the 4 rules, of course).

Stupidity is often a terminal disease.
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Old June 13, 2002, 03:28 PM   #11
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Well, chalk another one for the VPC/Brady Bunch statistic of a female partner being killed by their male partner.

You know, every death adds to their statistic, and helps in their goal of enacting 'sensible gun control laws'.
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Old June 13, 2002, 04:04 PM   #12
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KS -- you're right, his home isn't a legal "freefire zone" and he'll be lucky not to be doing time for it.

However, it's also not legal to hit someone with a car.
That doesn't mean it's a real healthy hobby to stand in the middle of a freeway during rush hour.

Same idea.


-K
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Old June 13, 2002, 04:30 PM   #13
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I can't see how any grand jury could true bill this one.

We can cast blame all we want, but the man clearly thought he was home alone, and his fiancee went to some great effort to further such an impression. It would be reasonable to say that anyone who did such a thing in the house of an armed man would be putting themselves into a tremendously dangerous situation. Unfortunately, he was unable to contain his adrenaline long enough to make a positive target I.D.
Quote:
RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY...
Quote:
...RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
He had made his target identification, in his mind, when he heard the noise.

Keep that in mind, next time you hear a clearly threatening noise in the night.
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Old June 13, 2002, 04:40 PM   #14
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This sort of thing has happened before. In LA or TX, I forget, a teenage girl was supposed to be at an overnight stay. She came home early and decided to scare her dad and mom.

To cut to the chase, she hid in the closet, yelled BOO and did who was looking for the intruder (she left signs) shot her in the chest and killed her. Died saying: "Daddy, I love you". The guy has been on the tube. Call him anything you want but the pain in the man is too much to watch.
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Old June 13, 2002, 04:47 PM   #15
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Gawd, man! I can't even bear to consider such a thing.

!

I'm off to go hug my daughters.
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Old June 13, 2002, 08:01 PM   #16
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I too remember that discussion we had where people were trying to say that you can shoot anyone in your home if you feel threatened. To all the people that disagreed with me (and KSFreeman) about target identification, read this story and you will get a perfect example of how not identifying your target EVEN if you feel threatened can lead to tragedy.
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Old June 13, 2002, 08:36 PM   #17
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The outcome would have probably been less unhappy if he'd merely made a verbal challenge from a position of advantage.
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Old June 13, 2002, 08:46 PM   #18
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Kaylee, why do we want to "make the perp" pay but when the perp is a gun owner we give him a pass? Not very bright to go looking for a fight, and then "no joy" find one. We still blame the attacker not the victim.

The stupidity is with the shooter and the shooter alone. The bullet came from his barrel. He controlled the means to destroying life and failed in his duty to preserve it purportedly. We should not and cannot shift blame to the innocent victim.

Not a smart idea to hide the closet and surprise someone (I can think of MANY ways for my GFs to surprise me, but cannot list those here!). However, you, the shooter, are still responsible for decision of whether or not to press the trigger and it is you who will pay via the prison showers, civilly, or through admin revocation of your CCW.

Long Path, not every state has grand juries. ("Yes, your grand juryship"). Where I am it takes one man's signature to prosecute him for Manslaughter, Criminal Recklessness Causing Serious Bodily Injury, and Pointing a Firearm. Grand juries will not always be there to (hopefully) bail a person out of a horrific mistake.

Lessons learned: a pistol is not license to run around like some Tommy tactical gunshop commando in a video game, your house is not a free fire zone where you can "shoot them all and let Bok sort them out" or whatever you learned in the gunshop or gun rag, and you MUST be certain of your target and its backstop.

Avoidance is best!
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Old June 14, 2002, 12:36 AM   #19
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The guy screwed up, he may not pay for it in a social way, but will certainly suffer personally.

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Old June 14, 2002, 02:47 AM   #20
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KSFreeman,
Quote:
The stupidity is with the shooter and the shooter alone.
I don't know that I would agree with that. There is plenty of stupidity to go around in this story. I do not give a pass to the shooter. He did the last stupid thing. I don't see how you can fire at someone and not even realize that it is a loved one. On the other hand the fiance went out of her way to set him up. In Kaylee's analogy would you hold the the person who is standing in the freeway at rush hour completely blameless? After all, the driver had complete control of the accelerator and the steering wheel. I really think there is plenty of blame to go around. The smart thing to do, as someone mentioned earlier, would be to make a verbal challenge from a covered position. I suppose it would be easier to run out of the house and call 911 and wait for a policeman to do the same thing but then how would I be any different from the blissninnies who want to take my gun away from me? I don't go looking for trouble, but I will defend what is mine. I don't believe I have the right to summarily shoot someone because I caught them in my house but I do believe I have a right to stand up to them.

This is just a sad, sad story with no reason for it to have happened.
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Old June 14, 2002, 03:31 AM   #21
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yada, yada ... the idiot shot a "loved one" by all accounts (after not really reading all the names, etc.)

The "gun went off" (again) & killed an innocent.

Violation of, hmmm, Rule #1 = ENGAGE BRAIN & Shoot the bad guy only! ... otherwise don't.

Just had a surprise birthday party of a known, card-carryin'/packin' fellow-bud last Sunday. Surprised him totally in a a darkened room with 50+ folk.

Would he have been justified in a smokin' of the room 'cause he "wuz a-scared?"

Lunacy.

Anybody using lethal force to defend themselves must absolutely KNOW! that they are in danger. & cannot deal with it any other way ....

Good grief! folks. Have we come to such a state in this society that we are "allowed" to kill anyone merely because we "were a-scared?"

"Honestly, Yer Honer. There I wuz & my wife jumped out & YELLED, I tell ya, YELLED, Happy Birthday! We'd a-had five burgals already this year & I wuz a-scared, I tell ya .... "

"I know it's a cast-ironed bitch, but I gotta make pancakes fer the kidz all last week now wif The Wife dead 'n gone ... Cantcha cut me some slack .... ?"
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Old June 14, 2002, 04:50 AM   #22
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That story really makes me glad that my wife knows better, then again she also know I won't shoot anything not positively identified.
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Old June 14, 2002, 06:46 AM   #23
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Dado'3, it was his bullet, he is responsible for it. What happened to the brave TFL talk about perps "taking responsibility"? He cannot step on the brakes once the bullet is launched.

The woman did not jump in front of his pistol at the range. He, and he alone, had the ability not to fire. If someone jumps out in front of your vehicle on the interstate, you may or may not be able to swerve or brake, you can always not press the trigger or, better yet, leave it in your holster.

YMMV and we may see what comparative fault a civil (or criminal) jury concludes.
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Old June 14, 2002, 08:07 AM   #24
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Quote:
He had made his target identification, in his mind, when he heard the noise.
I believe Long Path nailed it.

Tragic. Stupid.
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Old June 14, 2002, 09:57 AM   #25
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Target identification in home.

My dogs will let me know if there is someone there who doesn't belong. And, contrary to KSFreeman, if I have someone in my house who was not invited there or is threatening while in my house they are in a "free fire zone." That is the law in Oklahoma!
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