Prayer vigil for California shootout victims

Washington: A large number of local Tibetans and others held a prayer vigil for Sikkimese Tshering Rinzing Bhutia, Sonam Chodon and five others who were shot dead by a disgruntled college student who carried out an execution type killing spree in a religious college in California.

Preparations were also on to send the body of 38-year-old Bhutia to Sikkim, his home State where his parents live. His body was sent from coroner`s office to mortuary for embalm.

Bhutia was born in Sikkim and lived alone in San Francisco`s North Beach neighborhood and worked nights cleaning terminals in city`s airport. His close relative Karmapa Sonam Bhutia, a student of University of California in Los Angeles, arrived in San Francisco to complete the necessary formalities with the help of the Indian Consulate there.

The entire process is expected to take four-five days. "This shocking incident hurt whole community and is a painful situation for all of us. Our thought and prayers goes out to Jinpa la and family members of Sonam la and all the other victims," said the Tibetan Association of Northern California which organised a prayer vigil in honour of Sonam.

"She was a very simple and kind person who is only 33 years old. She has been living in the bay area for one and half years and was doing her school," said Tenzin `Tsedup` Wangdu, president of the Association.

Sonam was born and brought up in India as a refugee. She served in the Department of Education of Central Tibetan Administration in India for five years before coming here.
"She was a humble and a loving person. Our community member will keep her in our prayers," Wangdu said.

The other victims have been identified as Lydia Sim (21), Grace Kim (23), Judith Seymour (53), Doris Chibuko (40) and Katleen Ping (21).

Authorities also released the photo of One L Goh, the 43-year-old who has been booked on seven counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, one count of kidnapping and one count of carjacking. "Yesterday was truly one of the saddest days of my life," said City Council President Larry Reid, at the prayer vigil which was attended by some 500 people.