BARLING, Ark. – Four siblings killed in a shooting rampage at a Texas roller rink were remembered Saturday as a part of a tight-knit family, even as the hundreds gathered in an Arkansas church to mourn them tried to make sense of the tragedy.
More than 400 people attended a service for Trini Do, 29, her sisters, Lynn Ta, 16, and Michelle Ta, 28, and her brother, Hien Ta, 21. Trini Do's estranged husband, Tan Do, 35, shot her and her siblings during a birthday party for their 11-year-old son and then killed himself.
Police in Grand Prairie, Texas, have said they believe the shootings were planned and followed years of domestic violence. Trini Do received a protective order in December against her husband, but she had it withdrawn earlier this year against a prosecutor's advice because she wanted to give him another chance, an aunt has said.
The siblings' deaths shook the community of Vietnamese immigrants in and around Fort Smith, where Trini Do and her family arrived from Vietnam in 1994.
A choir performed a hymn in Vietnamese entitled "Coming Home" on Saturday as the caskets were escorted into the auditorium of the Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Barling. Many youth tied white strips of cloth around their foreheads as a sign of respect.
The Rev. Peter Quang Le, in a homily delivered primarily in Vietnamese, described how many were still in disbelief after the shootings, even after seeing the bodies of the dead.
"We cannot understand it," he said.
Le asked the audience not to be angry or seek revenge, but to pray for the victims and their family.
"The psychological wounds because of violence in the minds of (the Ta) family will endure all their lives," he said.
The victims' father, Hoi Ta, led a long line of mourners when the caskets were opened at the end of the service. He leaned into the faces of his children and whispered a few quiet words to each of them.
The fifth victim in the shooting rampage, Thuy Nguyen, 25, was Trini Do's sister-in-law. She will be buried in Vietnam.
Four others were wounded in the rampage, but police said their injuries were not life-threatening.
About 30 friends and family attended the private party at the rented roller rink. A DJ at the rink told The Associated Press that guests had just finished singing "Happy Birthday" to the couple's son when Tan Do spoke to him briefly, then pulled out a gun and shot Trini Do and her relatives.
Another of Trini Do's siblings was hurt in the shooting and remains hospitalized, said her aunt, Janice Tran. Trini and Tran Do's son and his 3-year-old sister were not injured in the shootings and have been in the care of other relatives.