On 13-Year Anniversary Open Season Documentary Re-examines the Controversial Shooting
On Tuesday, November 21, will be 13 years since one of the darkest days in Sawyer County history when St. Paul Hmong hunter, Chai Vang, opened fire killing six local residents and injuring two more over a dispute on where the Hmong was hunting.
The shooting took place near Birchwood. Chai Vang had apparently wandered onto private lands, found a deer stand and climbed into it. One of the property owners, Terry Willers, came upon Vang in the stand. He radioed back to his hunting party about a quarter mile away letting them know he was going to approach him.
The other members of the party got on their ATV’s and rode over to the stand.
Vang got down from the stand and walked about 40 yards away at which time he took his scope off, turned around and fired on them.
According to Minnesota Public Radio, “There were two bursts of gunfire within about 15 minutes. Apparently three of the hunting party were shot initially. One was able to radio back to the others that they had been shot. The others soon were on their way, apparently unarmed, expecting to help their fellows. But the shooter opened fire on them too.”
Those who died that day include Robert Crotteau, 42; his son Joey, 20; Al Laski, 43; Mark Roidt, 28; and Jessica Willers, 27 and Dennis Drew. Injured were Terry Willers and Lauren Hesebeck. Chai Vang was convicted of the murders and sent to prison for life.
The following documentary about the tragedy, called Open Season, was made in 2013.