by Bruce Rutledge (Photo by Kimiko Rutledge)
Two years after Donnie Chin was murdered, about 150 people gathered in Canton Alley to pay tribute to the man who dedicated his life to keeping the Chinatown-International District community safe. The crowd was filled with friends, relatives, community leaders, including former Mayor Mike McGinn wearing a “Justice for Donnie” pin on his lapel, a group of firemen from nearby Fire Station 10, and at least two police officers.
It was an emotional evening. A makeshift shrine to Chin, complete with his picture and hundreds of origami cranes, served as the backdrop for people who talked about how the man helped make their lives better. Chin’s best friend and his partner in the International District Emergency Center, Dean Wong, spoke about how the pain is still fresh for him. “They say time heals. I’m still waiting,” he told the crowd.
Chin’s sister, Connie, talked about how the family ran a store in the district since 1911 and had deep ties to the community. “We were raised in public service,” she said. Connie keeps the Sun May store open on Fridays and Saturdays so people can pay tribute to Donnie and visit with each other. Across the alley in the windows of the Wing Luke Museum is a tribute to Donnie.
Rayann Onzuka, a staff member at Wing Luke, told of how Chin would wait on a stool at the museum when they were working late so that he could escort them to their cars. Through tears, she recounted her memory of the day Chin was murdered: “I was taking the same drive I always do to come to Chinatown. I usually turn on 8th Avenue. But we couldn’t because it was blocked off. I saw all the yellow tape. I came to the museum, and I was thinking Donnie was going to come and tell me what happened like he always did. I saw everybody else crying and I didn’t know what was going on. They said, Donnie had been shot.”
Chin was gunned down in what police say was a gang-related shooting in July 2015. He was rushing to the site of the shooting to see if anyone needed help. The case remains unsolved.