‘Gun violence has no place here;’ mourners seek justice at vigil for teen killed in Cambodia Town

The move back to Long Beach was only going to be temporary for Gelinda Keo and her children.

After staying with her sister for a few months, the family moved into its own apartment in North Long Beach earlier this year.

“We were staying with her temporarily until I got back on my feet and was able to get our own place and I just barely rented the place for one month there—and my son died,” said Keo.

Landis Lim, 17, was gunned down Feb. 28 while playing video games in a friend’s garage in Cambodia Town.

Gelinda Keo gets comfort from attendees during a candlelight vigil for Landis Lim, her son, at MacArthur Park in Long Beach Monday. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

Monday night, the community gathered for a candlelight vigil at MacArthur Park, less than a mile from where Lim was killed, to mourn his death and call for justice and an end to gun violence.

“Whether or not it happened in Cambodia Town, it’s all of our problem; it’s not just the Cambodians,” said community activist Charles Song who organized the event. “We just want to make sure we have a voice. Gun violence has no place here. On top of that is the killing of an innocent child.”

Speaking in Khmer and English, a Buddhist monk and Cambodian pastor led the crowd through prayers.

Gelinda Keo hugs attendees after the vigil for Landis Lim. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

About 100 people gathered at the park to pay their respects. Keo’s relatives and friends came from as far as the San Gabriel area where her family had been living until they hit hard times.

Keo, who grew up in Long Beach, said her three sons were born in the city. Knowing she would be raising boys, she felt it would be safer to move away.

“Back then, with the history of Long Beach, I figured I have all boys I want my boys out of here from this community,” Keo said.

Keo said her children would visit family in Long Beach, but they were not aware of the neighborhoods or gang tensions that run through some of them.

Tamelyn Truong, 6 and her mother Gelinda Keo, right, hold candles. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

“My son does not deserve this. He is innocent,” Keo said.

She previously told the Post she suspects whoever shot Lim may have been targeting a relative he’d been hanging out with that day.

Councilman Dee Andrews, who attended the event alongside Councilman Daryl Supernaw, called for the community to come together to end the suffering.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure our city is safe,” Andrews said.

Community member Bryant Ben said he hopes to speak with the mayor’s office to set up a reward for more information about Lim’s death that can hopefully lead to an arrest.

As of now, no suspects have been detained and police said they don’t know what motivated the killing.

Leon Lim lights his candle as he attends a candlelight vigil for Landis Lim, his younger brother. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

In the meantime, Lim’s older brother Leon Lim is on a mission: to find a gray beanie Landis Lim wore every day and is seen wearing in photos.

“Before he passed away he asked me to help him look for his beanie and he can’t remember where he put it, and I’m still looking for it,” Leon Lim said. “That’s our relationship right there. It’s me helping him out do stuff all the time.”

Landis Lim, 17, was in a garage in Cambodia Town when someone pulled up in a car and opened fire, killing him. Photo courtesy Gelinda Keo.

Landis Lim, 17, was in a garage in Cambodia Town when someone pulled up in a car and opened fire, killing him. Photo courtesy Gelinda Keo.

Tamelyn Truong, 6, looks over to her candle at a vigil for Landis Lim, her brother. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

Community members gather and pray. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

Community members gather and pray during the vigil. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

Tamelyn Truong, 6, wipes her eye as she reacts during the vigil for her brother. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

Gelinda Keo wipes away a tear at the vigil for her son. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.
- ADVERTISEMENT -

More