Anchorage police said an argument over missing money led a 24-year-old man to shoot the pregnant mother of his children in an East Anchorage mobile home late Friday night. The bullet struck her in the neck, shattering her spine, police said.
James Vue was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder in connection with the shooting. Vue's father reported the shooting to police about 11:30 p.m. Friday.
The woman, 23-year-old Michelle Moua, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. The injury left her unable to move from the neck down, Anchorage police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. Moua is seven months pregnant. Doctors were monitoring the condition of her unborn baby, who appeared to be unharmed, Shell said.
The couple are Hmong, and although they aren't legally married, they are considered married in their culture, Shell said.
Police arrived at the mobile home park at 1001 Boniface Parkway and found Vue's father, Pao Vue, standing outside the trailer talking on the phone. In the one hand, he held a handgun partially wrapped in a sock.
Pao Vue told officers that he had been cleaning a tool in the kitchen when he heard the couple arguing "about some money that was missing," the charges said. The couple's four children were present in the mobile home at the time.
One was standing near Pao Vue in the kitchen, and the other three were in the living room. The oldest child is 6; the youngest is 1 ½.
When Pao Vue heard a gunshot, he turned around and saw his son holding a pistol, the charges said.
"He yelled at James Vue and asked him what he was doing," the charges said. About 30 seconds later, another shot rang out, and Pao Vue saw Moua falling. Pao Vue ran over and threw the handgun outside, he told police.
As Anchorage police arrived at the scene, one officer saw an adult woman with children, later identified in the charges as James Vue's mother and the children's grandmother. The officer told her to take the children outside, which she did, the charges say.
On the way out of the trailer, one of the children said, "Mommy is dying," according to the charges.
The wounded woman was lying in the arctic entry to the mobile home, blocking the entrance, police said in the charges.
"The woman was able to talk and said she was unable to move anything below her neck," the charges say.
Moua was bleeding from her neck, and a paper towel was covering the wound. One officer opened a back door so paramedics could enter the home without moving her. Another applied pressure until paramedics arrived.
Vue's parents, the owners of the mobile home, told police that Vue shot Moua.
Moua appeared in court early Saturday in the Anchorage jail courtroom, facing one count of first-degree attempted murder. A previous warrant was out for Vue's arrest for failing to appear in court on a domestic violence charge.
During the hearing, Vue told Magistrate Judge Christina Teaford he hasn't worked in the last year.
"All I do is stay home and watch the kids," he said.
Teaford said she was appointing a public defender. She also told Vue that he posed a significant flight risk, as well as an ongoing danger to the alleged victims in the case. She ordered him to have no contact with Moua, his four children and his parents.
"Why can't I have contact with my mom and dad?" Vue asked.
"They were witnesses in this matter and you're not to have any contact with them," Teaford replied.
Court records show that Vue pleaded guilty in 2011 to family violence against Moua. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to fourth degree assault and to interfering with a report of domestic violence. He also pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree assault charge against Moua in 2013.
In August, while serving a sentence for his most recent assault conviction, Vue walked away from an Anchorage crisis recovery center. He was charged with fourth-degree escape. He was out on bail when Friday's shooting occurred.
Reach Devin Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By DEVIN KELLY