Family members of a Cedar Rapids man accused of trying to kill his neighbors say he snapped after enduring years of racist abuse. Fourty-two-year-old Joseph Pham is charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of intimidation with a dangerous weapon. Pham’s older daughter, Kathie, says her father isn’t a violent man.
“This is the first time he ever went to jail,” Kathie said. “I can’t believe this is happening. It feels like a dream.” Police said Pham shot at 39-year-old Brian Wilson, his daughter Jayden Wilson and girlfriend Tracy Moses on Saturday. Wilson was hit three times and was the only person wounded. Police said the shooting stemmed from a disagreement between the two men. But Pham’s niece, 18-year-old Erika Springer, contends it started years earlier.
“It’s hatred. They absolutely hate other people,” Springer said. Kathie Pham, whose family is of Vietnamese descent, said they had been subjected to racial slurs and hate crimes for seven years. She said Tracy Moses’ ex-husband, Jamie Moses, harassed the Pham family for years. She recalled one such incident.
“We were just outside playing, like any other kids, and out of nowhere (Moses) drove across the yard,” Pham said. “I was scared. I thought he was going to run us over or something.”
A judge filed a no-contact order between Jamie Moses and the Pham family, according to court records. But when Jamie Moses moved out and Brian Wilson moved in, the Pham family said the harassment continued. Springer said Saturday’s incident began when Pham was working outside and Brian Wilson came up to the fence and started making racial slurs.
Springer said her uncle, who was born and raised in Vietnam, just wanted to give his children a better life. The family moved to that neighborhood because it was supposed to be a good area, she said.
By Nadia Crow, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids