Vigils, memorial services planned for Edmonton mass murder victims
Watch: Officials identify the eight people killed in Edmonton’s mass murder. Kendra Slugoski has more on the victims and the suspect’s history.
WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.
EDMONTON — Vigils and memorial services have been planned for several of the victims of one of the largest mass murders in Edmonton’s history.
On Friday, Edmonton police confirmed the eight people killed earlier this week included the lone suspect’s partner, her son, parents, sister and niece. The other two victims were an acquaintance of his partner and Cyndi Duong, a mother of three.
Family friends of Duong say there will be open viewings for family, friends and co-workers this weekend. Her funeral, which will be a private service, will be held on Monday. The location will not be made public, but family members expect hundreds of people to be in attendance.
According to the Truc Lam Monastery leader, Master Phap Hoa, there will be a public vigil at the Monastery at 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning for six of the victims who were from the same family.
On Friday, Acting Deputy Chief Mark Neufeld said all eight victims died of gunshot wounds.
Neufeld said 53-year-old Phu Lam – the sole shooter – died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at about 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at a Fort Saskatchewan restaurant.
The victims found inside the Lakeview home were:
Thuy Tien Truong, 35 – intimate partner of Phu Lam
Elvis Lam, 8 – son of Thuy Tien Truong
Thanh Ha Thi Truong, 33 – sister of Thuy Tien Truong
Valentina Nguyen, 3 – daughter of Thanh Ha Thi Truong
Thi Dau Le, 55 – mother of Thuy Tien and Ha Thi Truong
Police said these five people all lived at the Lakeview home.
Van Dan Truong, 55 – estranged husband of Thi Dau Le, father of Thuy Tien and Thanh Ha Thi Truong
His primary residence is undetermined at this time.
Viet Nguyen, 41 – acquaintance of Thuy Tien Truong
Elvis Lam was a student at Bishop Greschuk Catholic Elementary School.
“His teachers describe Elvis as a quiet and kind student who will be missed tremendously by his peers and the staff of Bishop Greschuk,” said a spokesperson for the district. Elvis attended the school for the past two years. Critical Response Teams will be providing assistance to students and staff when they return to school on Monday, Jan. 5.
“We pray that all surviving family and friends who have been devastated by this senseless tragedy may find peace in the healing presence of Christ.”
Watch: EPS Acting Deputy Chief Mark Neufeld shared the autopsy results of the eight mass murder victims in Edmonton, and described a timeline of events.
Three of the female victims worked at Top-Co in Edmonton, which manufactures casing cementing equipment.
“We truly extend our deepest sorrows, genuine sadness, thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the grieving family, friends, colleagues and others affected by this tragic occurrence,” said Top-Co spokesperson Mike Clay.
Over the past week the company has provided grief counselling and support for its employees.
Investigators believe all the people in the north-end home were murdered at approximately the same time, but it’s not clear if they were all in the house when the killings began.
The EPS had already confirmed that 37-year-old Cyndi Duong was shot to death in a separate home in southwest Edmonton. Sources have told Global News she was not the shooter’s intended target.
Neufeld said there was a link between members of the Duong family and members of the Lam/Truong family, but he would not elaborate much further.
“In every investigative motive we’re looking at right now, we cannot connect Cyndi Duong to Phu Lam and she was simply an innocent victim of all this,” he said.
“Mr. Lam went to that home not by accident. He went there in order to locate somebody he believed would be there at the time. That person was not present in the residence at the time, and subsequently Cyndi Duong was shot.”
He said the theory that Lam may have been looking for Duong’s father is one police are investigating.
Watch: People close to the homicide victims are speaking out about their incredible loss. Lisa Wolansky reports.
The investigation is ongoing. So far, police say Thuy Tien Truong and her mother Thi Dau Le didn’t show up for an overtime shift at work at 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 28.
Sunday evening, Thanh Ha Thi Truong’s estranged husband arrived at the Lakeview home and knocked on the door but no one answered. The black SUV was parked outside.
On Monday morning, a witness saw the SUV leaving the north-end home.
“We know that Phu Lam dropped off two young children, aged one year and eight months, at an adult relative’s home in north Edmonton,” said Neufeld. The one-year-old is believed to be the daughter of Lam and Thuy Tien Truong. The eight-month-old is the son of her sister, Ha Truong.
“The homicides, we believe, did take place prior to Mr. Lam dropping off those two children.
“There’s a very good possibility that those two young children were in the house in the north end when the homicides took place and yes, for whatever reason, the two children were spared.”
An adult relative later contacted police.
“Mr. Lam dropped off the two children earlier that morning… and it was that person who later would call us to express concerns about Mr. Lam,” he explained.
Lam’s activities leading up to Monday afternoon are not known. Investigators say late that afternoon, he went to a home in southwest Edmonton where relatives live and left shortly after 6 p.m.
“That address is a 12-minute drive from Cyndi Duong’s residence,” said Neufeld. “Cyndi Duong was murdered at approximately 6:50 p.m.”
It was at that time that police were called. They believe the people in the north-end home were killed before Duong was – sometime between 3:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. Sunday.
READ MORE: Timeline of the Edmonton mass murder
In November 2012, Lam faced charges of sexual assault, assault, and seven counts of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm. The charges were stayed on Dec. 21, 2012.
“Two years ago, Mr. Lam was charged with offences relating to domestic violence,” said Neufeld.
“Some of those offences included ‘threats complaints’ and some of the complainants that he threatened at that time are among the deceased.”
“We haven’t had any involvement with the family since the 2012 matter and at that time all supports were offered and made available to them,” said Neufeld. “Mr. Lam was kept in custody until after the offences were committed and then he was released after the Crown stayed the charges, so it wasn’t a situation where we could have checked in like we would otherwise.”
Watch: EPS Acting Deputy Chief Mark Neufeld says investigators could not get involved with the Lam family after the Crown stayed all charges against Phu Lam
“A videotaped statement was provided by the main complainant to an investigator retained by defence counsel,” explained the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, in a statement Friday. “It was a sworn statement, given with the aid of a Vietnamese interpreter.
“This statement recanted each and every allegation made to police.
“In these circumstances, the Crown could no longer be satisfied that there was a reasonable likelihood of the conviction of Lam. Accordingly, as required by their ethical obligations, the Crown stayed all charges against Mr. Lam on December 21, 2012.” (Click here to read the full Alberta Crown Prosecution Service statement).
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