Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A day before 53-year-old Phu Lam entered Ms. Duong’s home and shot her, the gunman killed his estranged spouse and five members of her family at her home in north Edmonton – among them were two children, including his eight-year-old son. A family friend was also killed.

Amber Bracken/The Globe and Mail

They came from across Edmonton to pay their final respects on Monday to a woman whose death police still can't explain. Cyndi Duong, a 37-year-old mother of three, was at her home on Dec. 29 when she became the final victim of the worst mass killing in Alberta's history.

More than 700 people packed a church in the city's west end to take a "final walk" with Ms. Duong, according to Pastor Thanh Trung Le. Seated in the pews were members of her oldest son's hockey team, each wearing one of the jerseys that Ms. Duong once took care of as an involved parent in the junior league.

"Whether they were co-workers, friends or people who knew her through hockey, everyone loved her and came to take a last walk with her," said Pastor Thanh. "She had a life that was worthy to live."

Story continues below advertisement

Neighbours around Ms. Duong's home in south Edmonton remember a bubbly and personable presence on the street. They say she made friends easily and was always ready to help.

Kevin Gartly knew Ms. Duong through their church, but has been a close family friend for more than a decade. The two volunteered together in the community and often bumped into each other at hockey practices. He's now helping her husband, David Luu, through the mourning.

"He was in shock and mourning most of the week. God has started to help him get going. I can see how God has lifted his spirits and given him strength," said Mr. Gartly.

As he said goodbye to a woman he watched grow up through his church, Pastor Thanh said he focused on a message of hope and faith for the congregation. "It's very tough, but we need to trust God and communicate a message of hope and strength. She touched each one of us there," he said.

A day before 53-year-old Phu Lam entered Ms. Duong's home and shot her, the gunman killed his estranged spouse and five members of her family at her home in north Edmonton – among them were two children, including his eight-year-old son. A family friend was also killed.

Mr. Phu killed himself 36 hours later after a standoff with police.

Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said last week the north Edmonton murders were "planned and deliberate." He added they were an "extreme case of domestic violence gone awry."

Story continues below advertisement

While Edmonton police stress that Ms. Duong was not Mr. Phu's intended target, they say they will be releasing no further information on the case. Despite a number of unanswered questions a clear motive for the seven deaths at the north Edmonton home has yet to be established, and police have yet to explain Ms. Duong's killing.

"While the public might be interested in those questions, it will have no impact on the police investigation," said Scott Pattison, spokesman for the Edmonton police.

Over the course of the week following the mass murders that killed eight, Edmonton police only spoke with the public twice. Mr. Pattison said remaining questions could best be answered by surviving family members.

Also on Monday morning, students in Grade 3B at Bishop Greschuk Catholic Elementary School wrote cards for former classmate Elvis Lam, the eight-year-old boy slain by his father.

A prayer table and therapy dog were at the school for Elvis's classmates. Calling the killing "devastating," the superintendent of Edmonton's Catholic schools said she had read the boy's class journal.

"What I gleaned is a very bright young boy, very passionate about math and science. He totally loved his baby sister; there are many stories about her in the journal," said Joan Carr. Elvis's sister was spared along with another child by Mr. Phu, who left both of them with a relative after the first seven murders.

Story continues below advertisement

A funeral will be held on Tuesday for six victims, including Elvis and his mother's family.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies