The quintuple homicide in Ingleside this March was shocking. In his May 2012 Neighborhood Narrative column, Alexander Mullaney discusses what to do when a family is taken away.
By ALEXANDER MULLANEY
EDITOR AND PUBLISHER
As we stood on Ocean Avenue behind the yellow caution tape cordoning off Howth Street, a Lick-Wilmerding High School student told me, “I’ll never be able to look at this street the same way again.” A family of five was found slain in their home that morning. The LWHS student said he went to the school-wide assembly to talk about the murders that occurred across the street from campus and that he lived around the corner. His remark, undoubtedly about the shocking nature of the crime, pointed to the psychological trauma of it all—this would linger and perhaps scar.
Ingleside lost a family on March 23. Hua Shun Lei, 65, and his wife, Wan Yi Wu, 62, as well as their children, Ying Xue Lei, 37, her brother, Vincent Lei, 32, and Chia Huei Chu, 30, Vincent Lei’s girlfriend, were brutally killed. Two days later, a family friend named Binh Thai Luc, 35, was detained and later charged.
This violence didn’t occur near this student’s home but near all of our homes. With that in mind, it is critical to understand that now is not the time to ask “Why?” but precisely the time to ask “What can I do?”
As justice takes its course, an integral part of the healing process, we cannot simply wait for the verdict to be determined. We must, as a neighborhood, address this wound and prevent any scarring. We must not delay when so abruptly and acutely hurt.
But how and when does healing begin? When the media crews leave and the yellow caution tape is pulled down? When the last of the memorial flowers have disintegrated and been dispersed by the wind? Grieving, as complicated as it can be and likely is in this case, must start off right to end up right. The best way to cope is to come together, work together and be together. There is much to be done.
Peace doesn’t happen involuntarily. It is made. We must make our peace. We must let our response to the slaying on Howth Street serve as a guide for what to do whenever calamity or tragedy strike.
On June 16, the neighborhood non-profit Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse along with Friends of the Urban Forest, Urban Farmer Store, District 11 Council, Excelsior Action Group and the OMI-Neighbors in Action will host a morning tree planting ceremony for the slain family at the Phelan-Ocean Garden. To donate or get involved, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-mail Alexander Mullaney: email@example.com.