Friday, August 29, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Horrific 1928 mass murder in Fairfield

Left, mass murderer Leung Ying and right, the Suisun Chinese community three years before the massacre

Left, mass murderer Leung Ying and right, the Suisun Chinese community three years before the massacre

By
From page A2 | January 31, 2014 |

Note: The following account of a grisly Fairfield mass murder is graphic and not for the squeamish.

The most vicious mass murder in California until that time occurred in Fairfield on Aug. 22, 1928. A 29-year-old Chinese cook and narcotics addict named Leung Ying killed 11 people in a horrific murderous rampage.

A Chinatown had bloomed in Rockville near Suisun Creek as descendants of the first Chinese immigrants, lured to California by the 1849 gold rush, settled there.

Leung Ying was high on narcotics when he took a rifle and shot Wong Yee, who was smoking an opium pipe before work in a secret underground room. Another worker was shot there as well.

Leung Ying killed four more people in the cutting shed and laundry. He then went to Wong Gee’s home. There, he shot Wong Gee’s 15-year-old daughter Nellie in the abdomen. She held on to life for five days after the initial killings, but became the final victim.

Wong Gee’s wife was carrying her 10-day-old baby, then nameless. Leung Ying shot the woman as she tried desperately in her last dying act to shield her child. Next, he shot 4-year-old Johnny Gee in his crib.

The attack, already senseless and horrific, then became barbaric.

Evidently Leung Ying ran out of ammunition and got a cleaver from the kitchen. After splitting the head of 3-year-old Willie Wong, he returned to Mrs. Wong Gee, moved her lifeless body and finished off the infant.

The only members of Wong Gee’s family left alive were 7-year-old Ruthie and 9-year-old Helen, who were upstairs.

Leung Ying then stole the Gee’s car and escaped to Grass Valley, where he was later arrested in a confrontation with police.

The story of the drug-fueled massacre was nationwide news. When caught, Ying said the reason for the murders were that others in the village were plotting to kill him by poisoning his food. “I no eat Chinese cake,” Ling was quoted as saying in a Grass Valley Newspaper. “I know who want kill me. I kill them first.”

A different reason and perhaps more plausible came from an interview with Evelyn Lockie in 1981 that was published in the December 1985 issue of Solano Historian. Lockie, who grew up in the area and knew Wong Gee, covered the story as a Fairfield correspondent for The Sacramento Bee.

“As far as we could find out, and according to his own version, he had been the subject of much teasing. He was an ugly little man, whose face was deeply pock-marked, probably from small pox, and he wasn’t too bright,” Lockie said. “The teasing irritated him. He found out that opium swept away his unhappiness and became addicted to it. As ‘hopheads’ were not encouraged on this ranch, he couldn’t get any opium, and this coupled with his being teased so much led his warped mind to the path of murder. He knew exactly who his targets would be and methodically went about disposing of them.”

Leung Ying was never remorseful and in fact asked to be released from his cell to kill a certain elderly Chinese woman, swearing he would return after her murder.

He tried to commit suicide by hanging himself with a blanket the night after his arrest, but was stopped by guards then spent the night banging his head against the floor and the walls while crying out for narcotics.

On Aug. 31, 1928, Leung Ying pleaded guilty to the murders and was sentenced to death by hanging. The execution date was set for Nov. 9, but he hanged himself with a bath towel on Oct. 22 in his cell at San Quentin State Prison.

The Fairfield newspaper, the Solano Republican, reported the suicide with its style of mixing editorial comment in with news reports. It said that by taking his own life Ying “saved the state 15 feet of well-stretched hemp.” It ended by saying that “Chinese in Suisun Valley were satisfied with the results of the bath towel party.”

Tony Wade, Fairfield writer, wishes to thank Mary Lou Bowen for bringing this story to his attention. Reach Wade at tonybethkaci@gmail.com.

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Skeptic ScroogeJanuary 31, 2014 - 2:39 am

    If it happened in todays society, he would have pled not guity by insanity (he was bullied), entered a drug program, been out after two years, early release overcrowding! Very interesting article! I wonder where they lived...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • archieJanuary 31, 2014 - 4:54 am

    Interesting article, thanks Tony.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensJanuary 31, 2014 - 6:02 am

    I hate to sound less then sanguine but history has a way of repeating itself.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJanuary 31, 2014 - 7:07 am

    Wow, never heard about this. Tragic but as history rolls along, the same patterns emerge bullying, drugs and violence. Great information Tony thank you for this article!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterJanuary 31, 2014 - 10:29 am

    Sounds like a good reason to ban high-capacity cleavers. Should have done it years ago.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

1 critical after 2 shot at Fairfield bus stop

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Prolific pears rule Courtland area

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Suisun police plan holiday weekend checkpoint

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
No plea as Vacaville homicide suspect appears in court

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Fairfield man faces trial on child sex charges

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville man convicted of fifth DUI

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Police in Vacaville schedule DUI checkpoint

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Accused park shooters set for probable cause hearing

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

Solano continues to deal with earthquake

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Bunting earns praise for role in paint case

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

Suisun City police log: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

 
Weather for Aug. 29, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B14

.

US / World

Mom won’t be charged in school confrontation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California Supreme Court pick confirmed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Feds to resume leasing for fracking in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

High school buddies followed similar path to jihad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Drugs killed Oklahoma inmate in troubled execution

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Q&A: Few laws govern children at shooting range

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Gun tourism grows in popularity in recent years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Obama sets no timeline for action on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
4 killed in New Mexico crash of medical flight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

US rebukes Oklahoma for ditching school standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Suit claims police brutality at Ferguson protests

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Flight diverts to Boston over reclined-seat upset

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Testimony wraps up in former Va. governor trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Obama rules out US military action in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
UN Security Council meets on Ukraine crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Russian columns enter Ukraine; leader urges calm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Attempt to call missing jet may alter search area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

Europe seeks role in postwar Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
UN: Armed group detains 43 peacekeepers in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

A look at the Islamic State militants in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Jihadists kill dozens of captured Syrian soldiers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

UN: Ebola disease caseload could reach 20,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

 
What should the US do about the Islamic State?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

Question of the week: Is US policy on hostages correct?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
More ways to help stop bullies

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

.

Entertainment

Review: Ex-007 actor spying again in ‘Nov. Man’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Review: ‘As Above’ so-so

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: The case against binge-watching TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

Angels rally in 10th for 4-3 win over Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Record-setting Petit leads Giants past Rockies 4-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Prep football preview: Rio Vista looks to get back to playoffs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Borland returns pick for TD, 49ers beat Texans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Carr’s 3 TDs lead Raiders past Seahawks 41-31

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
After Rice, NFL increases domestic violence bans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

USC coach accepts some blame in Shaw situation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Williams overcomes 3 early double-faults to win at U.S. Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Mickelson in a bind with 4 straight playoff events

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Weakened US team aims for world basketball title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Rise in flags makes NFL defenders wary of contact

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Week Zero prep football capsules

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

Local youngster will play baseball on national stage

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Stewart returning to competition after fatal crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

This date in sports history for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Power looks for elusive IndyCar title at Fontana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Business

M235i revives classic BMW memories

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.1 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Obama touts revised economic growth numbers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US economy grew at brisk 4.2 pct. rate in Q2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Ukraine conflict weighs on markets; Retailers fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Abercrombie name to shrink from clothing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Survey: Americans’ pessimism on economy has grown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Apple to unveil next products at Sept. 9 event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Frank W. Moy Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Gary Allen Person

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Lois C. Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics