Toronto

Korean community mourns 3 members killed in Toronto van attack

Toronto's Korean community is in a "state of shock" after three of its members were among 10 people killed Monday when a van slammed into pedestrians along one of the city's busiest streets.

'We need to move on. We need to face the fact that it did happen'

Hundreds of mourners attended a vigil organized by the Korean Canadian Cultural Association on Friday night. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Toronto's Korean community is in a "state of shock" after three of its members were among 10 people killed Monday when a van slammed into pedestrians along one of the city's busiest streets. 

"What hurts most, the future they came to Canada for and all of a sudden this happens to them, as a parent, to have a child abroad, I can only imagine the pain they are going through," said Daniel Lee, president of the Korean Cultural Association. "It's heartbreaking."

A vigil, organized by the Korean Canadian Cultural Association, was held Friday night to pay tribute to Sohe Chung, Chul Min (Eddie) Kang and Ji Hun Kim.

Police released their names earlier in the day. Chung and Kim are the youngest victims killed. 

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Mel Lastman Square, along a stretch of Yonge Street where five days earlier a rental van left a trail of death and injury. 

The neighbourhood where the attack took place is home to a large Korean community.

Lee told CBC News the community is reeling and "wants to do something" for the families of the deceased victims arriving from Korea. 

"We need to move on. We need to face the fact that it did happen," said Lee. "We wish it never did happen, but there's no way you can make sense of this." 

Sohe Chung was a student at the University of Toronto and worked at Holt Renfrew. (LinkedIn)

Chung was a student at the University of Toronto, pursuing a bachelor of science in cellular and molecular biology, according to her LinkedIn profile. The 22-year-old also worked in sales at luxury retailer Holt Renfrew.

"She was a beautiful person and well-liked by her friends," one of Chung's family members, who didn't want to be named, said in a statement to CBC News on Friday. "She had big dreams of doing something for society ... She was a very nice person."

Kang, 45, worked as a chef at Copacabana restaurant, a steakhouse downtown. During the 90s he attended Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont. A friend said he had a wife in Korea. 

Kim, 22, was a South Korean international student at Seneca College. A family friend told CBC News that Kim was an only child. Kim's parents both rushed to Toronto after learning of their daughter's death he said, adding they were too shaken to attend the vigil. 

A mural with pictures of Chul Min (Eddie) Kang was erected at the spot where the 45-year-old husband and chef was killed. (CBC)

The community rallied together shortly after 7 p.m., walking up the street while the sun set before stopping at a spot near the intersection where Kang was struck. Each person carried an electronic candle in support of the family and friends of the victims. 

"Words cannot describe what they are going through right now. We are doing all we can to support them," said Lee.  

A public vigil, #TorontoStrong, will be held Sunday for the victims at Mel Lastman Square.

With files from Natalie Nanowski and Ioanna Roumeliotis

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