EDMONTON — Speakers at a public memorial service for the victims of a mass-murder in Edmonton stressed the importance of recognizing signs of domestic violence.
Thanh Le, minister at the Vietnamese Alliance Church, told the crowd gathered outside Edmonton City Hall on Saturday that the tragedy shows how everyone must be more attentive to cries for help.
Le also asked people who are facing domestic violence to reach out before it’s too late, and know that confidential help is available.
Fifty-three-year-old Phu Lam gunned down seven people in his home on December 28th, including his wife, eight-year-old son and three-year-old niece.
He also killed Cyndi Duong in her home before eventually killing himself.
Police Chief Rod Knecht attended the memorial, and says taking action on domestic violence can be as simple as making an anonymous call to CrimeStoppers.
“There are a lot of support networks out there right now that people can reach out to if people are in trouble, or if they see somebody else in trouble,” Knecht told reporters after the memorial.
“Where we’ve really got to pull together to make sure this doesn’t happen again is when we see the signs in our neigbourhood, in our community and our own families.”
Court records show Lam’s wife, 35-year-old Thuy Tien Truong, told police two years ago that her husband had D-N-A tests done that revealed their son was not his. She said at the time that he hurt her and threatened to kill her and her family.
Her sister phoned police and Lam was charged with several offences, but the Crown said several witnesses later recanted their stories and the charges were stayed. Truong had also been granted an emergency protection order against her husband but it was revoked when she failed to show up in court for a later hearing.
Thomas Pham, who attended the memorial service, said it’s important to spread the message, particularly for newcomers to Canada, to be aware of domestic violence.
“When we come to this country we need to know there is support, and there is no tolerance for domestic violence,” Pham said.
Many of the people who attended the service brought flowers. They shivered and stamped their feet in the -15C degree cold while a light snow fell, and at the end of the service, laid the flowers on a table in front of pictures of all the victims.
Knecht and Deputy Chief Tony Harder carried bouquets to the table together, and then saluted.
Members of the police department’s victims’ services unit were available during the memorial, and gave away booklets containing information for crime victims, printed in Vietnamese.
Lily Le of the Viet Association told the crowd that Edmonton will rebound as it always does.
“May those we lost rest in eternal peace,” Le said.