Friday, 27 February 2015

Mass murderer should have been imprisoned

Phu Lam, 53, shot and killed eight people in two homes in Edmonton, Alberta on December 3o, 2014 before taking his own life at his place of work. In the first home, he arrived at 2:00 am and between 3:45 and 8 am, he shot seven people in that home. The people Lam killed included Lam’s wife, 35-year-old Thuy Tuen Truong, her son Elvis Lam, 8, Truong’s 33-year old sister Thanh Ha Thi Truong, her daughter Valentina Nguyen, 3, and Truong’s mother, Thi Dau Le, 55. All five lived in the north end home. Two others killed at that north Edmonton home were the Troungs’ father Van Dang Truong, 55, and an acquaintance of Thuy Tuen Truong’s, Viet Nguyen, 41. The police identified Cyndi Duong, a 37-year-old mother of three, as the lone victim at the second home by Lam’s mass killings. Apparently, she was not a targeted victim. The handgun used in the crimes was reported stolen from Surrey, B.C. in 2006. I don’t know if he stole the gun or bought it off the person who did steal the gun.

Police were first alerted to the killings when they received a weapons complaint at Cyndi Duong’s south Edmonton residence on Haswell Court. She was found dead from a single 9 mm gunshot wound. Police issued a release saying there was a “relationship between members of the Duong and Lam families.”

After responding to the call to Duong’s house Monday, police received a call for a male who was expressing thoughts of suicide. The call took police to the north Edmonton home on 83 Street NW, in the Klarvatten neighbourhood. They inspected the outside of the home and peered in the windows around 9:44 p.m., according to police, but saw nothing suspicious. Unbeknownst to the officers, seven people lay dead inside.

There’s a very good possibility that the two young children in the second home in the north end of Edmonton where two homicides there took place were deliberately spared by him. He dropped off a 1-year-old and an 8-month-old to a relative’s home the following morning. The two children Lam dropped off were the one-year-old daughter of Lam and his wife and an 8-month-old boy who was the son of Thanh Ha Thi Truong, his wife’s sister who had previously been killed by Phu Lam.

The killer had previously faced charges in 2012 of uttering death threats against seven people, including at least one victim found on December 31, 2014. Lam faced charges in 2012 of uttering death threats against seven people, including at least one child who lived in the Edmonton home where the seven bodies were found. Some of the individuals he threatened in 2012 were among the dead. Lam had kept threatened to kill his wife and her whole family and anyone his wife was associated with.

Threatening death in Canada is a very serious crime. Anyone who threatens death to another person can be sentenced to prison for five years. Why wasn’t this man imprisoned for five years?  

Unfortunately, those charges were stayed by the Crown (not proceeded with by the prosecutor). Those charges were dropped in December 2012 after key witnesses and the main complainant recanted “each and every allegation,” according to a senior official at the Alberta Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General.  If he had been imprisoned for those crimes, perhaps he might have changed his behavior. 

That was the stupidest thing they ever did in their lives. Their stupidity resulted in most of them being killed by the very man who had earlier threatened to kill them. Death threats should be taken very seriously and not sloughed off as meaningless chatter. As it turned out, his threats of death were not meaningless chatter.                                                                                                    

Lam was listed as co-owner of the north Edmonton home where seven of the killings took place. It was purchased in 2012. The suspect was later located at a Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan, a town about 30 km north of Edmonton. Lam was found dead at 8:30 am after he shot himself inside VN Express, a restaurant where he worked as a maintenance man periodically. The police said he also had a “business interest” in the restaurant.

What kind of man was Puh Lam?    He was “very well-known” to police. He has a criminal record stretching back to 1987, according to Edmonton police. In 2012 he was arrested at his home and faced charges relating to sexual assault, domestic violence and uttering threats.  

He actually said at a hearing that he planned to kill his wife’s entire family and that he had looked for a gun but no one would give him one. He at one time even asked his wife to find him a gun.

Lam came to Canada from Viet Nam in 1979 met his wife while he was visiting his home in Viet Nam in 2000. She came to Canada with him and they were married in 2003.  His abuse of her started just months after her arrival to Canada. Later, her husband argued against her getting a job, and  he exhibited a pattern of controlling and abusive behavior which included monitoring her phone usage, trying to prevent her from seeing her friends and even telling her what clothes she can wear.

His lengthy criminal record, stretching back to 1987, details a history of charges including aggravated assault, drug trafficking and possession, uttering threats and shoplifting. He was also charged with careless use of a firearm in 2001.        

Bankruptcy statements revealed that Lam had a serious gambling problem and he racked up more than $112,000 in unsecured charges with more than 15 credit cards. On December 16, 2014, just over a week before the bodies were discovered, the bankruptcy court ordered Lam to repay $17,655.43 in connection with his bankruptcy claim. That means that amount of money couldn‘t be included in his bankruptcy.

I will tell you of another violent loser.  His name was Ismaaiyl Brinsley.  The 29-year-old killed Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. He drifted between friends and family members for most of his short life, alienating most of them and failing at almost anything that he tried. No members of his family spoke of Mr. Brinsley with fondness. He bounced from family home to family home while growing up. Brinsley’s mother, who lives in Brooklyn, told the police she feared her son. She said that he had a very troubled childhood and was often violent.  After he shot the two victims, he shot himself to death.

There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that these two men were  losers and people like them have nothing to lose so they don’t care what they do to achieve their ends. They don’t even care about living or dying. Their murderous conduct is positive evidence that a loser can be a very dangerous person. Certainly Phu Lam’s controlling and abusive conduct against his wife and Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s failures and violence were hints that terrible things were going to happen soon or later.

The authorities somehow missed those hints and these mass killers did what they did to their victims. 

No comments: