During a public memorial yesterday evening for Wen Hui Ruan, the 68-year-old retired garment worker who was fatally attacked in the East Village ten days ago while walking to his home on Avenue C, community leaders condemned what they called an epidemic of random violence and the apathy of some local residents.
“After he was attacked and was lying there on the sidewalk, a number of people saw him and kept on walking by,” said City Council member Margaret Chin, who described Ruan as a loving father, grandfather and husband “who did not deserve to die the way he did.”
Council member Rosie Mendez, whose office organized the event, told Ruan’s grieving family, “We feel your pain,” and noted that people in the community had come together to collect money to pay for “additional expenses.”
Before she spoke, several family members sobbed uncontrollably at the makeshift shrine outside a residential building on East Sixth Street where Ruan, who spoke only a few words of English, was allegedly assaulted by 20-year-old Jamie Pugh, who lived close by. He’s been charged with second degree murder, assault and attempted robbery.
One woman who knelt before Ruan’s portrait screamed in anguish. “She’s angry,” said Michelle Ruan, 36, the youngest of her slain father’s three daughters. “She’s saying that he was like an anchor for her in her life and now he’s gone.” She added: “My father was a nice man. He lived near here.”
A Ruan relative sat in a folding chair and wailed, covering his face as reporters and television camera crews closed in on him.
The memorial, a second for Ruan, drew at least 75 people including other politicians such as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Anthony Feliciano and Carlina Rivera, district leaders for the 74th Assembly District, Part A.
Arlene Delgado, the mother of 16-year-old Raphael Ward, who was shot and killed on the Lower East Side in January of last year, spoke briefly.
Mendez read a statement from the Ruan children calling for the alleged perpetrator to spend life in prison “so our father can rest in peace. We can’t live normally until he’s brought to justice.”