HomeAsian AmericansHundreds attend vigil for 2 men killed in Chicago Chinatown robbery attempt
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Hundreds attend vigil for 2 men killed in Chicago Chinatown robbery attempt

Photo is a screen capture from a YouTube video posted by CBS Chicago

Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday night to honor two men killed in Chicago’s Chinatown, CBS Chicago reports

The vigil was held just feet away from the apartment complex where Huayi Bian, 36, and Weizhong Xiong, 38, were fatally shot early Sunday morning in a robbery attempt. 

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, vigil attendees lit hundreds of candles and brought flowers and signs reading, “We demand justice,” “Asian lives matter” and “All lives matter.”

Close friends of Bian and Xiong spoke in Chinese to express their grief and frustration with crime in the Chinatown neighborhood. According to CBS Chicago, community members that did not know the men also joined in calls for justice and punishment throughout the night, using both song and spoken word.  

Chicago Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez was present at the vigil. CBS Chicago reports that he took part in a “short but heated discussion” with community members and promised to work with the mayor and police to figure out how to increase safety in the community. 

According to NBC Chicago, police said they followed bloody footprints from the crime scene to Chinatown Square, where they found Alvin Thomas with a gun that matched shell casings used in the fatal double shooting . 

Dozens of the victim’s families and friends gathered earlier in the week to face Thomas at a court hearing on Tuesday, NBC Chicago reports

“These guys hadn’t been back to China in 8 years, 9 years to see their family,” Terry Wilson, a friend of the victims, told reporters at the hearing. “And now they can never go see their family.”

Wilson added to WGN TV that Xiong’s family in China, including a 12-year-old son, mother and handicapped father, relied on money he sent to them. 

According to CBS Chicago, community members are rallying to raise money to send both bodies back to the families of the victims. Both Bian and Xiong are from Shenyang, China. 

Meanwhile, authorities say that Thomas violated probation from past robberies at the time of the shooting. But WGN TV reports that his mother told reporters after Tuesday’s hearing that she doesn’t believe her son is a killer.

Thomas faces two counts of first-degree murder and is set to appear in court again on February 24.

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