Atlanta spa shootings: How to help the victims’ families

Mallory Rahman and her daughter Zara place flowers near a makeshift memorial outside of the  Gold Spa in Atlanta on March 17, 2021. Three women were killed inside the Gold Spa on March 16,  and another woman was found dead that same night at Aromatherapy Spa across the street.  (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
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Mallory Rahman and her daughter Zara place flowers near a makeshift memorial outside of the Gold Spa in Atlanta on March 17, 2021. Three women were killed inside the Gold Spa on March 16, and another woman was found dead that same night at Aromatherapy Spa across the street. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

About two weeks after a gunman’s rampage, families of the eight people killed — six of them women of Asian descent — are still stricken by grief and overwhelmed by the bills showing up in the mailbox.

GoFundMe accounts have been established in the name of all but one of the people shot at Asian-owned spas in Cherokee County and on Piedmont Road in southern Buckhead.

There is no known fundraiser set up for relatives of Daoyou Feng, 44, of Kennesaw. She was a Chinese citizen who had been working in the Cherokee spa only weeks before the shooting.

Soon Chung Park

Park, 74, had lived in New York before moving to Atlanta and leaves behind a grieving husband, Gwangho Lee, who set up a GoFundMe page to help him get by as he struggles with the tragedy.

“I am raising money to pay for my living expenses, including rent and bills, because I am currently unable to work due to the trauma I have experienced from this attack and from the death of my wife,” he wrote. “I would be very grateful for any support that will allow me to get back on my feet after this terrible loss.”

Soon Chung Park with husband Gwangho Lee in a photo posted on a GoFundMe page Lee established.
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Soon Chung Park with husband Gwangho Lee in a photo posted on a GoFundMe page Lee established.

Suncha Kim

Suncha Kim was 69.

“She was married to a loving husband who she planned to grow old with,” a statement from the family said. “She has two children. A loving son, a loving daughter, and three beautiful grandchildren. Outside of our immediate family, everyone that met my grandmother loved her dearly.”

A GoFundMe page has been established on behalf of Kim’s family.

“To have her taken away as a perfectly healthy elderly woman by such a heinous crime broke my heart,” granddaughter Regina Song wrote on the fundraising page. “I will never see her again but I am left with only happy memories of her and the beautiful life she lived. She never forgot to call me once a week to say, ‘Stay strong in life … when you’re happy, I’m happy.’”

Suncha Kim was killed in the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16, 2021. Photo from GoFundMe page.
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Suncha Kim was killed in the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16, 2021. Photo from GoFundMe page.

Credit: GoFundMe

Credit: GoFundMe

Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez

Gonzalez, 33, and her husband went to the Cherokee spa Tuesday for their first date night since welcoming a baby girl about eight months ago. Her husband survived as the gunman left, headed to kill in Atlanta.

“Boy, I’m going to miss her,” Gonzalez’s grandfather James Yaun Sr. said, standing in his Bartow County doorway, not far from her home. “She was about the only company I had over here.”

The granddad was proud of her for how she worked so hard to provide for her two children. She worked full time at Waffle House and for several years also supervised a roofing crew. A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for funeral costs and other expenses.

Delaina Ashley Yaun from facebook
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Delaina Ashley Yaun from facebook

Yong Ae Yue

Yue, 63, will be remembered by family for her selflessness.

Her two sons recalled her giving people flowers, gifts, money to cover bills. It didn’t much matter what you needed, said Yue’s two sons. She did what she could, even if it was just to say she cared.

“My mom, if she was here, her heart would go out to the families as well,” said Elliott Peterson, 42.

“My mother didn’t do anything wrong,” said Robert Peterson, 38, who has set up a GoFundMe page to take care of his mother’s memorial and arrangements. “And she deserves the recognition that she is a human, she’s a community person like everyone else. None of those people deserved what happened to them.”

Yong Ae Yue with her Shih Tzu mix, Lyong. (credit: Family photo)
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Yong Ae Yue with her Shih Tzu mix, Lyong. (credit: Family photo)

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

Xiaojie “Emily” Tan

Tan, 49, of Kennesaw, owned and ran the spa in Cherokee County. Longtime customer and friend Greg Hynson, 54, recalled hours spent visiting at the shop with Tan.

Tan loved to brag on her daughter, a recent University of Georgia grad. “She would share pictures of them doing things,” Hynson said. “Sunday brunch. When she graduated.” The daughter, Ying Tan “Jami” Webb, now has no other family in the U.S., according to a GoFundMe page set up to help with Tan’s arrangements.

Tan moved to the United States from Nanning, China, according to the fundraising page. “Xiaojie loved her life in the US, and worked really hard to provide for her family,” a loved one wrote. “Jami is heartbroken that she will never get to travel with her mom again, but intends to bring her mother’s remains home to Nanning as soon as she can travel safely.”

Xiaojie “Emily” Tan was one of eight people — six who were of Asian descent — killed on March 16, 2021 at metro Atlanta spas. (Courtesy of family)
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Xiaojie “Emily” Tan was one of eight people — six who were of Asian descent — killed on March 16, 2021 at metro Atlanta spas. (Courtesy of family)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Paul Andre Michels

Michels, 54, of Atlanta, served in the U.S. Army in the 1980s after a childhood spent riding dirt bikes and getting into small-time trouble with his younger brother, John, 52, outside Detroit.

“I’m the closest in age, so we were basically like twins,” John Michels told USA Today. “We did everything together growing up.”

The older brother, who did handyman work at the Cherokee spa, was the only man killed in the rampage. He leaves behind a wife, Bonnie, and former neighbors in a Chamblee-area subdivision who recall hearing his old pickup rumble past, signaling that Michels — who always seemed to be working — was off to another job. His wife’s co-workers have established a GoFundMe page to help the family.

This October 2015 photo provided by John Michels shows his brother Paul Andre Michels in Allen Park, Michigan. Paul Michels was among eight people killed March 16, 2021, in shootings at three Georgia spas in the Atlanta area. (John Michels via AP)
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This October 2015 photo provided by John Michels shows his brother Paul Andre Michels in Allen Park, Michigan. Paul Michels was among eight people killed March 16, 2021, in shootings at three Georgia spas in the Atlanta area. (John Michels via AP)

Credit: John Michels

Credit: John Michels

Hyun Jung Kim Grant

Grant, 51, of Duluth was a single mother of two sons, and both young men say they had no other family in America. Randy Park, 23, the eldest son, told The Associated Press his mom taught him to moonwalk while vacuuming and liked to sing loudly in the car with them.

“She was one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today,” Park wrote on a GoFundMe page he set up to cover arrangements for his mom and help him and his brother get by. It has reached nearly $3 million.

“Thank you everyone so much. This doesn’t represent even a fragment of how I feel. My mother can rest easy knowing I have the support of the world with me,” Park wrote after the fundraiser went viral.

Hyun Jung Grant, 51, was among the six women killed on March 16, 2021, in the metro Atlanta spa shootings. She lived in Duluth and had two sons.
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Hyun Jung Grant, 51, was among the six women killed on March 16, 2021, in the metro Atlanta spa shootings. She lived in Duluth and had two sons.

Credit: Abusaid, Shaddi (AJC-Atlanta)

Credit: Abusaid, Shaddi (AJC-Atlanta)

Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz

Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, of Acworth, was shot but survived. His wife detailed Ortiz’s injuries on a GoFundMe page, saying he was shot in the forehead, lungs and stomach. He will need facial surgery.

“Please help me and my family raise money to cover for my husband’s medical bills,” Flora Gonzalez Gomez wrote. “Please pray for my family and the families that were affected by this shooting.”

Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz in a photo shared by his wife on GoFundMe.
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Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz in a photo shared by his wife on GoFundMe.