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Edmonton mass shooting victims to be honoured at monastery

01/03/2015 05:04 EST | Updated 03/05/2015 05:59 EST
A Buddhist monastery will hold a special prayer Sunday for the victims of the tragic mass shootings that left seven adults and two children dead in Edmonton.

“When we learn something like this, it’s like an awakening bell for all of us ... to reflect and to try and heal our hate, our greed and our ignorance,” said Phap Hoa, the abbot of the Truc Lam Monastery on 97th Street.

Hoa said the city’s Vietnamese community has been rocked by the killings, spread across opposite ends of Edmonton earlier this week.

Fifty-three-year-old Phu Lam has been identified as the man responsible for killing his wife, Thuy Tien Truong, and her parents—as well as other members of her family—including her 8-year-old son and 3-year-old niece.

Lam then travelled to southwest Edmonton and killed Cyndi Duong, 37, before dying of an apparent suicide in a restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan.

Hoa said that Truong’s brother-in-law, Tam Nguyen, whose wife was one of Lam’s victims, is a member of the monastery’s membership.

“At first, I didn’t know it was his family until he came to see me," Hoa said of Nguyen. "He was very emotional, very sad. He was confused and it was very hard for him to explain everything.

“We promised him that, not only the monastery, but the Vietnamese community will support him.”

Family needs 'warm support'

The monastery will say a special prayer for the family as part of its usual Sunday service at 10:30 a.m., Hoa said, as a way of showing support for the victims’ surviving family members.

“The family needs warm support. We can see the community is concerned about each other. When we have a family that has a problem, we are here to help them.”

Police Said Friday that Lam and Truong may have been estranged. Court documents obtained by CBC show that the shooter had previously threatened to kill his wife and her family in 2012, after learning through genetic tests that he was not the biological father of her son.

Truong applied for an emergency protection order after saying that Lam had abused and choked her that year.

Hoa said he hopes the prayer service will help ease the community’s pain, as well as to help others “let go of anger and ignorance.”

“The big gift you can give is to forgive and forget," Hoa said. "When you can forgive the one who hurt you, it is a gift for them. When you forgive the one who hurt you, it is a gift to yourself.”

Hoa said the prayer service is open to anyone who wishes to honour the victims.

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