LAKE HALLIE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin woman who was killed by a man who wounded her parents and fatally shot three of his family members was a "beautiful soul" who was kind to everyone and had a passion for sharing her Hmong culture, friends and relatives say.
Laile Vang, 24, was fatally shot by Ritchie German Jr., who wounded Teng Vang and Mai Chang Vang before taking his own life Sunday night, according to Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk. German shot his way into the Vang home in Lake Hallie after killing his mother, Bridget German, 66, his brother, Douglas German, 32, and his nephew, Calvin Harris, 8, at their home in Lafayette, authorities say.
Melody Evans-Ermatinger said she became friends with Laile Vang when they were in the marching band at Chippewa Falls High School.
"There was never a sad moment, never a dull moment with Laile," Evans-Ermatinger told the Wausau Daily Herald. "We were either smiling or laughing."
Evans-Ermatinger said she stayed in touch with Vang at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where they were both members of the Blugolds marching band. She remembered her friend as happy and a go-getter.
Another friend, Phillip Huempfner, said Vang loved explaining her culture to him and he appreciated learning about it. Vang created a series of YouTube videos offering lessons in the Hmong language, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Vang's cousin Leni Sujin, on a GoFundMe page, described Vang as "the glue that held her family together" who was helpful to her parents and siblings.
"Laile had a soft heart and a beautiful soul," Sujin said. "She never spoke poorly of anyone and she always looked on the brighter side of things. She had a bright aura around her and always yearned to travel and experience new cultures."
A couple of days before the attack, German sent unsolicited sexual texts to Laile Vang, but she apparently didn't know him and replied, "Who is this? I don't know you," authorities said. There is no evidence the two had ever met.
Vang's parents are expected to survive.