Friday, December 19, 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

 
Sondheim’s ‘Woods’ holiday showcase for Missouri Street Theatre

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings play role in civic life

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Frankye Kelly ready to spread holiday cheer

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Celebrate the magic of Christmas

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

 
Santas have busy week at schools

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Safe streets task force work nets 3

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
 
Solano College approves officers, meeting schedule

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

Longtime Suisun harbor master to retire

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Police arrest 2nd suspect in Fairfield credit union robbery

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

US / World

Spy’s parents search for son after Cuba-US deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Sony film took aim at North Korea’s biggest taboo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
 
Local emergencies in Northern California counties after rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California’s top utility regulator defends record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
‘Pretty horrible’ scene; car slams into crowd

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Police: Drunk man shot while entering wrong house

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
President signs legislation ending Nazi benefit checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

2 states challenge Colorado marijuana legalization

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
‘Prison Houdini’ set to make his 1st legal escape

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Top Islamic militants killed; more US troops going to Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Russian sailors leaving France without warship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

European court rules obesity can be a disability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

.

Opinion

Another look at school bonds

By George Guynn Jr. | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

News of the day strikes a chord

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D8

 
Should I use Child Protective Services threat to get back rent?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D8

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Dec. 19-25, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Robin Williams

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Craig Ferguson to end 10 years as host of ‘Late Late Show’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Eric Idle brings ‘Not the Messiah’ to Carnegie Hall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

.

Sports

A’s trade All-Star catcher Derek Norris to Padres

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Durant injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
A’s acquire lefty De La Rosa from Arizona for cash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Raiders defense depleted by injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
49ers’ Harbaugh mum on reported offer from Michigan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

49ers’ Aldon Smith hopes to build off tough year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Column: Thaw in US-Cuba relations warms up MLB

By Jim Litke | From Page: B8

Rivera: Newton ‘probably’ will start vs. Browns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Bears bench QB Jay Cutler for Clausen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

‘Hands Up’ players to attend Ferguson Christmas party

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Rodriguez boys open Les Curry Tournament with victory

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
39 bowl games and a reason to watch every one

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

 
.

Business

Roomiest Subaru Legacy debuts for 2015

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Dow industrials have their best day in three years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Lisa Dee McHughes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Travis Curt Price

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Jennie Ponce Reyes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics