Bao Yang worked multiple jobs as a single mother raising her two sons.
The Minnesota woman, who earned her license as a registered nurse less than three years ago, was full of life, always smiling and laughing, according to her 21-year-old son, Chai Vang.
That joyful life ended Saturday when Yang, 39, of St. Paul, was gunned down outside her home by her ex-boyfriend, a registered sex offender who authorities allege had stalked and harassed her for more than a year.
The suspect, Doua Por Lao, 39, of St. Paul, then turned the gun on himself, St. Paul Police Department officials said.
Vang wrote that words cannot describe the pain he and his 11-year-old brother are experiencing.
“All she ever wanted was to raise my little brother in the best life she could give him,” Vang wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral expenses. “I could see how much stress she carried every day, but (she) still always managed to provide for my brother and (me).”
St. Paul police officials said officers were called around 8:30 a.m. Saturday to Yang’s home at 1920 E. Montana Ave. on a report of a shooting. When officers arrived, they found Yang and Lao outside, both suffering from gunshot wounds.
“Officers immediately secured the scene and began to render aid to victims,” a department statement said. “They called for St. Paul Fire medics, who arrived a short time later and pronounced the man dead at the scene.
“The female victim was transported to Regions but did not survive her injuries. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.”
A shotgun and a handgun were recovered at the scene, authorities said.
Watch a police spokesperson speak near Saturday’s crime seen below.
“We heard two big booms,” a distraught neighbor, who asked that her name not be used, told the Pioneer Press in St. Paul. “I looked out and she was laying on the ground.
“Two women came running out of the house, screaming. It was just awful.”
A breakup and a campaign of terror
That same adjective could be used to describe Yang’s relationship with Lao, according to police and court records. Yang had tried all she could think of to rid herself of him, including repeated calls to the police about the harassment.
Over the past year, police officers were called to Yang’s home a total of 15 times due to Lao’s harassment. The 15th call reported her murder.
Yang had filed criminal charges against her former boyfriend in August 2019. She accused Lao of raping her and shaving her head.
Lao was already a Level 3 sex offender when he and Yang met, authorities said. KSTP in St. Paul reported that he was convicted in Wisconsin 2003 of second-degree sexual assault of a child.
According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Lao “held a known female teenager against her will and engaged in sexual contact. Contact included penetration.”
Authorities said Lao gained compliance from his victim “through manipulation, physical force and use of accomplices.”
“Lao also provided victim with alcohol prior to contact.”
Lao was back in court in 2011 on domestic violence charges, the Pioneer Press reported.
Court records obtained by KSTP state that Yang dated Lao from August 2018 to July 2019, when she broke up with him.
The month after the breakup, on Aug. 16, 2019, Yang awoke to someone throwing something against her bedroom window. It was Lao, who begged to come inside.
Yang opened the door, at which point Lao forced his way inside. When she tried to call 911, he smashed her phone.
Lao then raped Yang in her living room, court records state. Afterward, he found hair clippers and shaved her head.
Lao told her he “saw a video on YouTube where a man shaves the head of a woman who cheated on him,” according to the court records.
Yang initially filed a criminal sexual conduct charge against Lao but later dropped it because “Lao continued to harass her and she believed pursuing the case would make things worse for her.”
Charges or no charges, things grew steadily worse.
Last month, Yang sought an order of protection for her family after Lao sent sexually explicit photos of her to the father of her sons, with whom she was fighting for custody of her younger son. He threatened further harm if she did not come back to him, KSTP reported.
“I got scared of what he would do,” Yang wrote in her petition. “He has expressed to me verbally and through text messages that he won’t stop and is not afraid of authorities.”
Yang also decided to reopen the previous domestic abuse case against her former boyfriend, and Lao was arrested Feb. 24, according to the Pioneer Press. The day after his arrest, someone called Yang’s home, said “Drop the charges,” and hung up.
Lao was released March 1 on $10,000 bail.
The final call from Yang came on March 9, when she called 911 to report and document a harassing phone call, KSTP reported. She cited the order of protection meant to keep Lao from stalking her.
Eleven days later, both Yang and Lao were dead.
Yang is one of eight victims of fatal domestic violence in Minnesota so far this year, the news station said.
“There were so many points of intervention that were missed opportunities,” Becky Smith, communications director of Violence Free Minnesota, said about Yang and Lao’s relationship. “We know over the decades of doing this work that it’s not true that it’s inevitable. We can make meaningful interventions.
“This doesn’t have to happen.”