Dozens of red and yellow flowers were set down on a white table outside Edmonton’s City Hall Saturday, in front of the photos of the eight victims left dead after last month’s mass shooting.
“For those who are left behind, they see that they have a community behind them,” said Thanh Le, pastor of the Vietnamese Alliance Church.
In late December, 53-year-old Phu Lam entered a home on the city’s north side, where he shot his wife, Thuy Tien Truong, and as well as her parents, her sister, a friend and Truong’s 8-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.
Lam then drove to south Edmonton, where he killed Cyndi Duong, before taking his own life in a Fort Saskatchewan restaurant.
Le, who officiated Duong’s wedding, said the vigil helped provide comfort to her family. Duong’s husband is still dealing with the loss, but doing well, Le said.
“We know that Cyndi is in a better place … he’s able to stand up and move forward.”
Le told the vigil about the need for forgiveness after the shootings. He also said it served as a warning for others to not ignore the threat of family violence
“Those in the situation of domestic violence, they can be encouraged to reach out,” he said.
While many attended the vigil as a way of finding closure after the killings, many questions about the case remain unanswered.
Police chief Rod Knecht, who attended the memorial with other officers, said they still aren’t sure why Duong -- who wasn’t Lam’s intended target -- was killed.
“We may never, ever find out exactly what happened,” he told reporters.
“The gentleman who committed suicide probably took that to his grave.”
Knecht echoed Le’s encouragement for people to speak out when dealing with domestic violence. He said the issue touches all parts of Edmonton, not just the Vietnamese community. Even in situations that don’t require police, Knecht said, there are resources available to deal with the problem before it can turn deadly.
“There are resources to those who reach out,” he said.
“There is no upside from anything like this, but I think we can learn from this going forward.”