SAN JOSE — Hieu “Charlie” Ly, the San Jose man who was gunned down Monday night in his Evergreen neighborhood liquor store, built strong bonds with his many regular customers over the past decade. He was beloved by generations of Evergreen families, including 20-somethings who affectionately called him “Boss man.”
Many of those customers will join the Ly family Friday at 7:30 p.m. at a vigil outside the family-run liquor store located inside a strip mall at Quimby and White roads.
“I felt like as a community we needed to come together and show his family that he was well loved,” said Lulu Gomez-Montez, who is organizing the vigil.
Ly was shot to death Monday by a masked gunman who walked into their store and demanded money, according to his family. The man shot Ly when he refused to open the cash register, according to Ly’s brother, Hao Ly.
Ly’s wife witnessed the shooting and, while holding her husband in her arms, tried to call 911, Hao Ly said.
“The guy told her, if you call anybody, I’ll kill you,” Hao Ly previously told this newspaper.
The gunman knocked the phone out of her hand but failed to open the cash register.
Charlie Ly died inside his liquor store, his wife at his side
Jason Ly, the youngest of Charlie Ly’s four adult children, said he and his brothers Thao, David and Kevin will be at the vigil.
“Our dad was the best father anyone can ever hope for,” the brothers said in a statement to this newspaper. “He carried the weight of the world on his shoulders for the whole family. He did everything for his family and never asked for anything in return. All he wished for his family is joy and happiness.
The family has established a Go Fund Me page to “help take care of the day-to-day living expenses and our mom.
“His life did not deserve to end this way,” the Ly sons wrote about their father. “Our family is in absolute shock and grief – especially our mother, Lilly, who is still traumatized. We are trying as hard as we can to process and cope with this loss.”
At a growing memorial in front of the store, Gomez-Montez left some large poster boards for customers to write down their feelings and keep Ly’s memory alive.
Gomez-Montez said her 23-year-old grandson would often hang out at the story with Ly.
“He gave the younger generation a lot of wisdom about life,” Gomez-Montez said. “Not only was he a friend, he was a father figure to a lot of the younger generations.”
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