Community rallies together in support of Brooklyn U-Haul rampage victims

A vigil in Brooklyn on Monday brought together leaders of an incredibly diverse community.

The victims of last week’s U-Haul tragedy had different backgrounds – most were immigrants, some were working at the time – and there are physical and emotional scars that still haven’t healed.

Last Monday, a man at the wheel of a rented U-Haul terrorized the streets of Bay Ridge, driving onto the sidewalks. People had to dive out of the way, but it hit nine pedestrians and cyclists, including one man at 5th Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway who did not survive. He was identified as YiJie Ye.

“We light these candles to honor the grief and the loss felt by so many of us gathered, and to honor the memory and the life of YiJie Lie,” said Karen Tadros of Bay Ridge Cares.

Ye was a single father of three. A GoFundMe page has already raised more than a hundred thousand dollars.

The U-Haul would hit people at several more locations in the community before the police would apprehend him.

Weng Sor, 62, is charged with murder and attempted murder. Those impacted by everything are still struggling to understand why it all happened – it is something no one may ever understand. Sor later admitted, according to sources that he hit pedestrians and cyclists on purpose.

“This person was experiencing some real mental health issues that we must focus on and face to make sure our city is safe, and I’m committed to doing so,” said Mayor Eric Adams.

While Ye’s family members were not at Monday night’s vigil, the message to them was one of support.

“Imgine those three kids, how they’re going to handle their lives,” said New York State Senator Iwen Chu.

“His American dream was not supposed to end on this street corner,” added New York State Senator Andrew Gournardes.

Like most of the victims of the U-Haul rampage, Ye was on his bike and working.

“Many of them were delivery workers, folks just out trying to make a better life for their families. And now these families quite literally and figuratively cannot afford to deal with what they’re dealing with right now,” said NYC Council Member Justin Brannan.

The community is also rallying around the family of Mohammed Zacharia Salah Rakchi, who is still in critical condition with severe injuries. His wife Nadjet Tchenar says their young children miss him.

“I just tell them he’s safe, i the hospital — he’ll come back soon,” Tchenar said.

Eber Coy, also a delivery worker on his bike is still in the hospital too.

“We’ve worked hard, but we still have so much to do to make that just a safe job in our city. Not everyone will be at risk of a deranged madman or killer and yet we have not made that a safe job in our city, where people that are doing work for us every day can just go to work and know they’re going to be safe,” said NYC Comptroller Brad Lander.

As for the man charged in the deadly rampage, Sor is due back in court in three weeks on murder and attempted murder charges.

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