Vigil held to commemorate three victims killed at a Halloween-themed birthday party in Long Beach
November 5, 2019
As the church bells on St. Matthews Catholic ring, Buddhist monks begin chanting and praying at the former residence of the Hou Family, where seven days ago, 12 people were shot, leaving three people dead at a Halloween-themed birthday party on Oct. 29.
“Today we come together to chant and pray to release all the suffering,” said one of the monks.
In the Cambodian culture, it is believed that the soul of a victim killed violently by accident or incident (in this case a mass shooting), is still wandering at where he/she falls. Therefore, 7th-day memorial service has to be performed in order to let him/her know that he/she is no longer living in the physical realm and is guided to cross over into the light, according to Reach Linda who contacted the Signal Tribune on behalf of the Hou family about the vigil.
Chan Hou and his family were living in the house for 12 years when the shooting occurred.
“I still feel so sad,” said Hou. “My heart is broken. I loved all of them.”
Hou described his relationships with many of the victims, some whom he had known for years and felt he was a father figure to them.
“They would come to our house after school, some even referred to me as ‘dad’.”
Maurice Poe Sr., father of Maurice Poe Jr., who was one of the three victims killed said, “What I’m going though, no parent should ever experience this. It’s a sad day.”
City officials Mayor Robert Garcia, Chief of the Long Beach Police Department Robert Luna, Councilmember Jeannine Pearce and Assemblyman Patrick O’ Donnell were also in attendance.
Candles and incense were lit as a monk went around blessing the backyard and the inside of the residence where the shooting occurred.
“I and all the monks, the Buddhists and the guests here invite the spirits and soul of Maurice Poe Jr., Melvin Williams II and Ricardo Torres who still survive over here to accept our compassion and loving kindness to release you of all the suffering and to guide you to heaven and stay with God,” preached one of the monks.
The Hou family has since moved from the residence. The shooter or possible shooters have not been caught.