Triple homicide: Dan Popp transferred to mental health facility; victims' families want hate crime charge

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee County judge ordered on Wednesday, April 6th that Dan Popp, accused in the shooting deaths of three people, be transferred to a mental health facility.

Dan Popp

Popp faces three counts of first degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted homicide.

Milwaukee police arrested Popp at the 92nd and Beloit apartment building where three bodies lay inside on March 6th. Popp was charged with murdering Phia Vue, his wife Mai Vue, Jesus Manso-Perez and trying to kill Perez's son, Jesus Manso-Carraquillo.

Popp entered the courtroom Wednesday, April 6th handcuffed to a wheelchair, surrounded by deputies. He came in through a side door, so as to not be close to the victims' families, who crowded the gallery.

In court Wednesday, a psychiatrist who examined Popp told the court he believed Popp was not competent to understand the proceedings. However, the psychiatrist indicated with medication, Popp could become competent and face the charges.

Dan Popp

The judge indicated if Popp does not want to take the medication prescribed, he could be forced to do so. Popp then apparently expressed concern to the judge about some kind of device being implanted in him.

"He understands the medication -- but doesn't want any devices implanted in him," Popp's attorney, Christopher Hartley said.

Meanwhile, family members of the Vue family were in court. They were upset with the ruling -- they do not believe Popp is mentally ill.

"We reject the state's psychiatric evaluation saying that Dan Popp is incompetent. We will be pursuing an individual evaluation. We will fight for justice that the victims deserve. Lives were taken because of Dan Popp's hatred of those different from him," Tou Xiong said.

Mai & Phia Vue

A spokesman for the Latino community that has been in touch with the Perez family continues to push to have Popp charged with a hate crime.

"We've actually sent a hate crimes investigation request to both the district attorney here as well as the U.S. Department of Justice," Darryl Morin, Perez family spokesman said.

Jesus Manso-Perez

Previously, officials with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office said they weren't closing the door on a hate crime charge against Popp in the future, but they are focusing now on the triple homicide case.

Popp is scheduled to be back in court for a hearing on July 7th. The court also ordered him to be examined every 30 days.

According to the criminal complaint against Popp, police were dispatched to the neighborhood near 92nd and Beloit around 5:45 p.m. on March 6th for a report of a shooting. While walking up to the apartment building, they came across a young man who stated, "he shot my father; he is in the bathroom."

The complaint indicates police approached the building and "heard a single gunshot come from the building." Officers sought cover by the front porch.

Triple homicide near 92nd and Beloit

About five to 10 minutes later, the complaint says Popp walked out of the building. He "had a long gun slung over his shoulder." Officers told Popp to drop the gun, but he did not initially comply. The complaint indicates Popp said, "I'm just going to go to the cop car by the curb."

Officers continued to tell Popp to drop the gun and "Popp eventually lowered his shoulder and the gun slid down his arm." Popp then laid on the ground and put both of his hands behind his back. Officers took him into custody.

When officers approached the front door of the building, once Popp was in custody, two children came to the front door and they were carried to safety by officers.

Triple homicide near 92nd and Beloit

Once inside, officers discovered the door to Apartment #1 had been forced open. The doors to Apartment #3 and Apartment #4 were also open.

Jesus Manso-Perez was found dead -- lying on the landing leading to the second floor.

Mai Vue was found dead inside Apartment #3.

Phia Vue was found dead inside Apartment #1.

Triple homicide near 92nd and Beloit

Before police arrived at the scene, Manso-Perez and a boy, who lived in Apartment #4, apparently ran into Popp in the hallway of the building as they were headed down into the basement to start a washing machine. The complaint indicates Popp asked if they wanted a beer -- and they declined. The complaint says Popp asked the two of them where they were from. After they replied, "Puerto Rico," Popp apparently said, "Oh, that's why you don't speak English." Popp then went into his apartment (Apartment #3). A few moments later, the complaint says he came out of the apartment, "he raised a long gun," pointed it at the Manso-Perez and stated, "You guys got to go." Popp then allegedly shot Manso-Perez.

The boy immediately ran downstairs. The complaint says "he looked up and saw that the man was pointing the gun at him and he then heard a second shot, which he believed was meant for him." The boy ran outside and headed towards some people who were outside, and 911 was called.

As for the other victims, the criminal complaint indicates Popp knocked on their apartment door (Apartment #1). Phia Vue, his wife Mai Vue and their four children lived in the unit.

Dan Popp

Popp apparently asked the person who answered the door, a relative who had been babysitting all weekend, if "someone was knocking." The woman said no. About 10 to 30 minutes later, two to three gunshots were heard in the hallway. Popp allegedly then kicked in the apartment door. Phia Vue, Mai Vue, the babysitter and the four children were inside the unit.

A statement to police said "the man was holding a black rifle and he told them to let him into the bedroom." The complaint says Popp was able to enter the bedroom.

Popp is accused of pointing the rifle at Phia Vue and ordering him to leave the bedroom. Phia Vue left the bedroom, and the door was closed. Those inside the bedroom heard two to three shots, before Popp came back into the bedroom and "told them that everything was safe." The complaint indicates Popp asked those inside the bedroom to come upstairs with him.

Mai Vue told Popp he should go first and they would follow him.

Popp then left the bedroom, but eventually came back. The complaint says he dragged Mai Vue, along with the two younger children out of the apartment while the others followed. Popp dragged Mai Vue up the stairs and the babysitter and the older girl ran out of the building.

Each of the victims who were killed in this case suffered gunshot wounds to the head. Mai Vue also suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The babysitter in this case, and the son of Jesus Manso-Perez, were able to identify Popp as the shooter during a lineup.