FRESNO, Calif. - Just days before his attempted murder trial is to begin, 38-year old Thong Vang contacted us unexpectedly on Friday. Vang called our Connie Tran from jail and admitted that he shot correctional officers Juanita Davila and Toamalama Scanlan. In a bizarre twist, Vang also claimed self defense.
It was a day many in the Fresno community will never forget. The Fresno County Jail in Downtown Fresno, here criminals are housed, became a crime scene itself back in September 2016. Davila was shot in the face, and Scanlan was shot in the head. Vang, who is a convicted rapist, confessed that he was the trigger man.
"There's a lot of things I could have did, and there's a lot of things they could have did that would have changed the outcome of this, you know what I mean. And as like I said, I, I take responsibility up to one point," stated Vang.
Vang said he walked into the jail lobby that morning hoping to be taken into custody. He said he wanted to turn himself in because he knew he was a felon in possession of a firearm.
He said, "I never wanted to hurt nobody that's the whole reason why I came there. Things led to another, you know what I mean, and stuff happens, you know what I mean?"
Davila and Scanlan were working in the jail lobby. Vang allegedly shot them as they tried to restrain him. Vang claims he panicked when an officer attempted to use a taser on him.
"He shot at me, I turned (good), and I seen gun. I know what a gun looks like, and as, boom, from there it just kinda like, triggered to where I said man, these people are trying to kill me, you know."
Tran asked him, "And you weren't going to allow that to happen?"
Vang simply replied, "No."
Investigators said neither Scanlan or Davila were carrying firearms. We contacted Vang's defense attorney Richard Esquivel. He commented, "I would have preferred that he not discuss the particulars of his case prior to trial. This is all stuff that we should air in front of a jury and not the public."
The Fresno County District Attorney's Office said they plan on doing everything they can to see Vang is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims did not want to comment on Vang's phone call to me since the trial is about to begin. Members of the Scanlan and Davila families declined to comment as well.
Vang's attempted murder trial is expected to begin on Monday, February 26.