Austin suspect charged with attempted first-degree murder

Published 10:30 am Friday, April 1, 2011

AUSTIN — Charges have been filed against three men in connection with a Monday night shooting that severely injured a 28-year-old Austin man.

Mongong Kual Maniang Deng, 22, is scheduled to be charged Friday with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary with a dangerous weapon and first-degree aggravated robbery. All of the charges are felonies.

Kevin Michael Lyke, 20, and Ojulu Obang Onyongo, 20, were each charged with three felonies Thursday in Mower County Court — aiding and abetting first-degree assault, aiding and abetting first-degree burglary with a dangerous weapon and aiding and abetting first-degree aggravated robbery.

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Lyke and Onyongo, both from Austin, are scheduled to enter their pleas in court April 14. Deng, from Rochester, has not yet been scheduled for a plea hearing.

According to court documents, police believe Deng is the shooter.

The incident in question happened Monday around 7:15 p.m. at 200 First St. SE. According to a court complaint, the victim heard a knock on his apartment door and found a man believed to be Deng standing in the hall with a 12-gauge shotgun. Deng allegedly pointed the gun at the man’s head and demanded money and “everything that was there.”

The victim’s two children — ages 5 and 7 — witnessed Deng’s alleged entry into the apartment. The man told police he was afraid Deng would shoot one of the children, so he grabbed the gun and a struggle ensued. Deng allegedly told the man, “Friend, give me your money, otherwise you’re dead.”

The man told his children to run to the basement, at which point Deng allegedly pointed the gun at the victim’s stomach. At some point the gun was fired, and the man was shot in the upper leg area. The court report also states one of the man’s fingertips was shot off.

A woman who was parked nearby when the incident occurred told police she saw a man, later identified as Deng, walking in the area wearing a black trench coat. She said his right arm was moving in conjunction with his right leg, as if he was holding something inside his coat.

The woman watched Deng get into a silver Pontiac. Lyke was later identified as the alleged driver of the car.

About two hours after the shooting, Austin police received two reports of suspicious activity at the old Downtown Motel involving the silver Pontiac that had been near the crime scene.

Around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, officers talked to two people who said Lyke and Deng had come over earlier to “hide for 30 minutes.” According to the court complaint, at least one of the people knew Lyke but asked he and Deng to leave when Deng began cleaning blood off himself in the bathroom. The men apparently left bloody items at the house, which police recovered later.

Lyke and Onyongo were arrested Tuesday at the old Downtown Motel. When investigators questioned Onyongo, he said he was at the old Downtown Motel with Lyke Monday around 5:30 p.m when Deng arrived and was talking about robbing someone.

According to court documents, Lyke agreed to give Deng a ride to the location. Onyongo told police he agreed to go with after the two men offered him a cigarette.

After dropping off Deng, Onyongo got out of the car and began walking in the opposite direction, he told officers. He said he walked back to the old Downtown Motel, but Lyke and Deng didn’t return until almost 8:30 p.m.

When law enforcement officials questioned Lyke, he led them to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, where the men had apparently ditched the gun. Police found the weapon under a pile of logs and later discovered it had been reported stolen in Duluth, where Onyongo was a suspect in the theft.

Markings from the gun’s flash suppressor matched marks found on an interior door at the crime scene, the court complaint states.

Lyke then took investigators to the 400 block of 10th Street NW, where Deng’s bloody trench coat and pants were stashed in a tub on someone’s porch.

As of Thursday afternoon, court reports did not include a statement from Deng, who was arrested in Rochester on Wednesday after Rochester police received a tip regarding his whereabouts.

Lyke and Onyongo could face up to 20 years in prison or up to a $30,000 fine for each charge against them. Deng’s charges likely call for a harsher sentence than Lyke and Onyongo if he is convicted.

Deng faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to Mower County Attorney Kristen Nelsen.