A Missoula man was sentenced on Tuesday for holding a gun to his wife’s head during an argument they had in September 2020.
Xieng Vang, who was in his late 40s at the time of the incident, was given a suspended sentence of six years with two days of credit for time served. He will not serve any additional jail time.
Missoula County District Court Judge Jason Marks presided.
“The reasons for the sentence take into account Mr. Vang’s lack of criminal history ... takes into account the recommendations made by counsel and also takes into account the serious nature of the offense,” Judge Marks said during the sentencing.
Vang pleaded guilty in February to one count of assault with a weapon, a felony charge.
On Sept. 19, 2020, a Missoula County sheriff’s deputy responded to a report from Vang's wife of an altercation between her and Vang that had happened two days earlier, according to charging documents.
Vang's wife mentioned the use of a handgun to law enforcement and said she and Vang had been having marital issues for years, adding that he had become increasingly violent, court documents said.
She told law enforcement that on Sept. 17, 2020, at around 8 p.m., the two had had an argument at their home. Vang left the bedroom where they were fighting, got a handgun from his car and returned inside where they kept arguing, according to charging documents.
Vang then knocked his wife to the ground and put his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming while he held the gun in his other hand, charging documents said. Vang then placed the handgun on the side of his wife's head, and she repeatedly asked him not to kill her.
Vang's wife told the responding deputy that she believed Vang was going to kill her in that moment, according to charging documents.
The couple’s five adult children then entered the bedroom where the two were fighting. Vang quickly hid the gun behind his back and under his shirt, charging documents said. Vang's wife then tried to get control of the gun, a struggle ensued between the two and the gun fired, shooting up through the back of Vang’s shirt and into the ceiling. One of the children then took the gun and left the room.
Officials later spoke with Vang, and he denied any sort of fight with his wife happened on Sept. 17, according to court documents.
Without officials mentioning any gun, Vang volunteered that he didn’t know the gun’s current whereabouts, according to charging documents. Vang went on to tell the deputy that he did have a gun in the bedroom and that his wife had fired it through the back of his shirt.
Vang admitted to bringing the gun inside the house for protection, and showed officials the hole in his shirt and the ceiling from the gunfire. Vang told law enforcement that his wife had tried to take the gun and shoot him, according to charging documents.
Officials spoke with the adult children who were present during the fight. One of them, named as D.V. in charging documents, said he heard his parents arguing on the evening of Sept. 17.
“D.V. then stated he heard his mother ‘yelp’ and yell ‘he’s got a gun,’” charging documents said.
D.V. said he and the other children intervened and took the gun after it fired. D.V. reported that after things had calmed down, Vang admitted that it was wrong to introduce the gun to the situation, court documents said. The deputies spoke to two more of the couple's children who corroborated the events and said that on that evening Vang had been the aggressor in the argument.