CARROLLTON, Texas — Traditional three-tiered Korean wreaths lined the aisles Thursday night at New Song Church outside Dallas, where mourners gathered at the funeral for the Chos, remembered as oriented pillars. family in your community.
Family and friends packed two halls of the church to honor Kyu Song Cho, 37, Cindy Cho, 35, and their 3-year-old son, James, killed last weekend in a mass shooting at a shopping mall in Allen,Texas. Her six-year-old son, William, survived the shooting.
The tearful service came less than a week after a gunman opened fire at the Allen Premium Outlets, about 25 miles north of Dallas, killing eight people and wounding half a dozen more.
“The Cindy I remember is still one of the sweetest, most loving and most positive people I know,” said David Kim, who was part of a Bible study and fellowship group with the family. «James was a shining light to all of us… If his dad won a smile contest with a big smile, and his mom won with the sweetest, James could win with his eyes.»
The murder of the couple and their youngest son has caused great grief in their church community and across the country. Kyu was a lawyer and Cindy a dentist. Her surviving son is no longer being treated at a local hospital, according to NBC KXAS stationbut it is not clear if he was sent home or to another facility.
Witnesses said Cindy died trying to shield William from the gunfire, KXAS reported.
Cindy’s father, Changho Kang, spoke tearfully at the service Thursday as he remembered his daughter. “You worked hard for many things in life,” he said through an NBC News translation. «I loved you so much.»
He also addressed his grandson. “You were affectionate with me, your grandfather. My grandson… your brother loves you,” he said. “In heaven, we will meet again. I love you all, my children.»
Kyu’s father, Won Hwan Cho, spoke soon after, reminiscing about his son and daughter-in-law. «My children, I received the greatest gift.»
He also said of his surviving grandson: «I ask for a prayer from all of you that he lives a healthy life, is bright, loves everyone and is loved.»
Allen police identified the shooter as Mauricio Garcia. He was killed on Saturday by a police officer who was at the mall. In the days after the shooting, authorities revealed that Garcia was armed with an «AR-15-style assault weapon,» a pistol, and was wearing a tactical vest.
Law enforcement officials said they believed Garcia was a neo-Nazi sympathizer. A preliminary review of what is believed to be the shooter’s social media accounts reveals hundreds of posts related to violent neo-Nazi and white supremacist materials.
The shopping center massacre was the second deadliest mass shooting in the US this year and the second in Texas in just over a week.
New Song church leader Rev. Peter Hyun condemned the shootings, saying he was filled with “uncontrollable anger and overwhelming grief” when he learned that all three Cho family members had been killed. Hyun said that he has long been an advocate of gun control, but he never imagined that a mass shooting would occur so close to home.
“I have performed many funeral services, but this is by far the most difficult funeral service. I am a person who is very resentful of the ongoing shootings in the United States,” Hyun said. «I still don’t know why brother Kyu Cho, sister Cindy, and James had to experience this tragedy.»