Family at a loss to explain violence

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Por Ye Lor sat in his driveway at 1102 Arbor Drive assembling a Yamaha toy four-wheeler for his children on Monday afternoon.
But within hours, police say, he shot and killed his wife, then himself, at the hardware store where she worked in Concord.
Few details have been released about the domestic dispute that caused Lor to shoot the mother of their three children, Zoua Xiong, about 5:20 p.m. near the cash registers in Lowe’s on Dale Earnhardt Boulevard at the Concord-Kannapolis line.
People at the store Monday night said the couple was arguing and Xiong, a Lowe’s cashier who went by the name “Vivian” to some coworkers, was shot in the head by Lor, 31, before he used the handgun to shoot himself.
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Some of the neighbors around the couple’s Meadowbrook home were unaware of the shooting and shocked to hear the news about a family they regarded as “quiet” and “peaceful.”
Other neighbors watched as two Salisbury Police cars, along with vehicles from the Department of Social Services, arrived at the house Monday night. They stayed about three hours and Social Services caseworkers escorted the couple’s 6-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 2 and 4, from the home.
“The kids were crying,” a neighbor said. “They took a couple of arms full of clothes out.”
Broken Tonka toys and a worn-out teddy bear lay in the front yard on Tuesday. The newly assembled miniature four-wheeler sat beside its box in the garage.
Tom Brewer, program administrator for children’s services at the Rowan County Department of Social Services, said the children have been placed in foster care. The agency is assessing family members and hopes to place the children with relatives by today, he said.
Brewer said Social Services has never previously been called to the home.
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Xiong was killed in front of coworkers near the cash registers where she worked.
Lowe’s spokeswoman Karen Cobb said grief counselors would be available at the store to help employees deal with Monday’s incident. Xiong worked for Lowe’s as a cashier for six years.
Matt Biles, an employee at the Concord Lowe’s, said the store should have been closed on Tuesday.
“I think us being open today is distasteful,” Biles said.
Biles said he was overcome with emotion upon hearing the news Monday night.
“I couldn’t get the rest of the sentence out of my mouth — I literally threw up,” Biles said. “Nothing can prepare you for one of your friends dying.”
Biles said Xiong was a head cashier at the store and was “well liked by everyone.”
Michelle Yang, a cousin of Lor, said the couple would sometimes come over with the kids, but that nothing ever seemed out of place.
“They were good people,” she said.
Yang said Lor worked at NGK Ceramics in Mooresville. She said she also used to work there.
NGK Ceramics did not respond to requests for comment.
Lor’s brother, Sunnis Lor, came to Lowe’s Monday night after receiving a call at 6:45 p.m. from family members that something had happened.
Lor said he hadn’t had a chance to speak with his brother after Por Ye Lor started working nights, but said his brother never said anything about domestic issues.
“He never said anything to me,” Lor said. “I don’t know if they were having any problems or not. I hadn’t seen him a lot, maybe once a month.”
Another family member, Kao Yang, said Lor enjoyed hunting and playing volleyball with his family.
Yang said he saw Lor last weekend at a family funeral, but that he acted normally. Yang noted, though, that Xiong wasn’t with him at the funeral.
“I don’t know what the reason is for doing this,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do with the kids.”
Neighbors around the home said the family kept to themselves but played outside with their children and tended to the garden.
Xiong, 25, had planted a garden for two years, said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
“I saw her out in the yard most every day doing some watering,” he said.
Lor was also seen outside playing with his children, the neighbor said. The family had recently installed an in-ground pool.
“To watch him play in the pool with his kids — they had a big time with that,” the neighbor said.