I’ve lived in my Seattle neighborhood for 11 years. It has one street where commercial businesses congregate. There are restaurants, a laundromat, a pet store (formerly a florist), a food market and finally a dry cleaner. When we first moved here I looked for a dry cleaner and after a bad experience with one business which lost my pants, someone recommended the dry cleaner on 34th Avenue. As soon as I walked in I felt reassured that I and my clothes would be treated well. An Asian couple ran the business. For the longest time I thought they were Korean, but I just found out they were Vietnamese. I didn’t know it at the time but their name was Thong.
Every time I bring my children to pick up or drop off clothes the husband or wife always give them a package of Asian crackers. For some reason this has become an important ritual for my kids. Whenever we are near the store they ask if I have any dry cleaning to pick up. I hope that besides the tasty crackers they also appreciate the nice smiles they would get from the owners.
All of which leads me to the horrible tragedy I’ve just discovered. The husband was murdered on Sunday night–by his son. At first we only heard that he had died and didn’t know how it happened. So we assumed he’d died of a heart attack. My wife walked into the dry cleaner to pick up her clothes and the woman fell into her arms sobbing uncontrollably. Janis called me immediately and we were dumbfounded. How could a such a seemingly healthy man die?
Then our babysitter told me the full story. And the local newspaper reveals the whole sordid mess of it. A son who smokes pot laced with PCP. He already owns a gun and is apparently obsessed with gun culture. Add that to the drugs and you’ve got a volatile, toxic mixture. The son believed someone was out to hurt his family. After hustling them to and from the car several times, he decided his father was the enemy. He put a bullet proof vest on his mother and proceeded to fire multiple times into his father’s body until he went down.
Then he and his mother proceeded to call 911 to report what he had done. He is now in jail facing second degree murder charges. And the lives of his entire family and everyone he loves is sundered forever. All because of an unstable personality mixed with PCP. Damn that drug to hell.
But bless the soul of Thomas Thong.
His 29 year old son, Tai had no previous criminal history. Yet the DA insisted he be held on $1 million bail. Why?
Requesting that Thong be held on $1 million bail, Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Baird said in court documents that “the circumstances of this homicide — even as related by the defendant to detectives — strongly suggest that he presents a great danger to the community.”
This is preposterous. This boy represents no danger to the community, especially if he is kept away from PCP. There is already enough tragedy to go around here. Why make the situation worse than it already must be?
Mr. Thong’s daughter had been married a year ago.