BELLEVUE, Wash. – Hundreds of people attended a funeral Monday for a woman killed in a shooting rampage at a Jewish charity, saying they hoped her violent death would prompt actions of peace.
Pamela Waechter, 58, was shot when a man forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle on Friday. Five others were wounded.
Police arrested Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, who was ordered held on $50 million bail pending charges. Haq told authorities he was angered by the war in Iraq and U.S. military cooperation with Israel.
"I hope your being taken from us will spur on actions of peace," said Waechter's daughter, Nicole Waechter Guzman, as she read a letter she composed to her mother.
Waechter's brother, Chuck Hall, said that before the service he took his family to the downtown Seattle building where she died. He found the number of letters and flowers left outside comforting, especially the many cards from area Muslims.
"The way we can honor her memory is to live the way she lived," Hall said. "Pam loved people. She was understanding to people."
A simultaneous funeral took place in Minneapolis, where Waechter was raised as a Lutheran. She converted to Judaism when she was married, moved to Seattle in 1979, and became a leader in the Jewish community.
Also Monday, Haq's parents extended their condolences to the victims and said the shootings were contrary to their Islamic values.
"We could not have imagined for a moment that our son would do this senseless act," Mian and Nahida Haq said in a statement. "We have always believed and practiced in fostering love, peace and harmony with everyone, irrespective of religion, race and ethnicity."
Larry Stephenson — who was representing Haq on a recent lewd conduct charge, stemming from an incident in which he allegedly exposed himself to women at a shopping mall — said Haq suffers from bipolar disorder.
U.S. Attorney John McKay said Monday that an FBI investigation continues, and that federal hate crime charges could accompany state murder charges.