Two men plead guilty in 2022 killing of community activist Ma Kaing

Kaing, 47, was unloading a car when she was struck by a stray bullet on Xenia Street in July 2022
Ma Kaing
Posted at 2:37 PM, Jul 09, 2024

DENVER — Two men charged in the 2022 killing of community activist Ma Kaing pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a spokesperson with the Denver District Attorney’s Office confirmed on Tuesday.

Nu La and Swa Bay were originally charged with several counts, including first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on June 20 as part of a plea deal, the DA's office told Denver7.

No sentencing dates for the pair had been set.

Kaing was a mother to four children and had recently opened Taw Win Oo at the corner of Yosemite Street and E. 11th Avenue in Aurora.

The community activist and her children had arrived home the night of July 15 at the Hidden Brook Apartments when multiple suspects were exchanging gunfire at a park just south of the apartments.

The group of suspects noticed a vehicle they did not recognize driving around the park and "didn't believe the vehicle belonged in the area," according to a Denver Police Department official, who added that each suspect was armed with a firearm and shot multiple rounds at the driver as they passed on 13th Avenue.

Kaing, who was with her family unloading a vehicle after a late night at the restaurant, was struck by a stray bullet. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they believed the shooting was gang-related.

'That's valuable time wasted': Family calls for changes to 911 following shooting in East Colfax neighborhood

In the days after the shooting, Kaing’s eldest son, Kyaw Lwin "John" Oo, spoke to Denver7, describing the moments during and after the shooting, including the poor response from 911 operators, who he claimed hung up during various 911 calls — an allegation denied by spokespersons from both Denver and Aurora at the time.

Four people were arrested in the shooting about a month later. The criminal cases against two of them – Lu Reh, 22, and Pa Reh, 20, continue moving through the courts.

Pa Reh is set for an arraignment on July 15, and Lu Reh is scheduled for a pretrial conference that same day.

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