‘They can go on now:’ Monks perform cleansing ceremony at site of mass shooting

Seven days after at least one gunman opened fire on a Halloween-themed birthday party, killing three men and wounding nine other people, monks came to perform a ceremony at the home.

The Buddhist ceremony is meant to cleanse the home and help the souls of the men who died move on, according to Chhang Song, who was at the ceremony and spent 20 years in a Buddhist temple.

As one monk, Sireysakayamuny, sprinkled water on the spots where the three men died, the backyard, inside the home and on the people in attendance. Four other monks chanted. Song said the monks were blessing the home and telling the souls of the men something to the effect of “life is temporary and changing.”

“This commemoration assures them that they’re leaving us and you love them, but they have to go on to the next life,” Song said.

In Cambodian tradition, the spirit and soul of a person stays where they died until they “know they passed away,” said Sithea San, chairwoman of Cambodia Town, Inc.

“They can go on now,” she said.

Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, Mayor Robert Garcia, 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce and Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell were all in attendance for the ceremony, each speaking a few words in support of the families affected by the shooting.

“We will forever be here for you guys, not just today,” Pearce told the family who lives at the home.

Police still have not announced any new leads or updates in the case.

Buddhist Monk Sireysakayamuny blesses the home and courtyard with water during the 7th Day Blessing at the home where nine people where injured and three were killed in a mass shooting during a Halloween-themed birthday party in Long Beach Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Buddhist Monk Sireysakayamuny pours water over Chan Hou, who lives at the home. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Sithy Yi kneels by a memorial. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Sithea San lights incense. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

A supporter bows during the vigil. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia bows to Chan Hou. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.


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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.