|Murdered Teen's Family Holds Press Conference|
Published: Friday, 02 November 2007 21:18
Photo courtesy APD Ichinkhorloo Bayarsaikhan
The family of Iko Bayarsaikhan, the Alameda teenager who was murdered on Halloween, held a press conference at Alameda Police headquarters Sunday, Nov. 4.
The victim's mother, Uranchimeg Khishigdorj, read a prepared statement to the press. "Iko was my only daughter. She always had a smile on her face. She loved life. She always shared her dreams with me. She would tell me that someday soon, her father and I wouldn't have to work so hard. She would say, 'I will make you happy and take care of you for the rest of your life.' But I lost my sweet daughter. I wish that every family never has to go through what I'm feeling."
Also in attendance were Bayarsaikhan's father, Mandalmaa Bayarsaikhan, her uncle, Gankuyag "Ghana" Khishigdorj, and Dorj Luvsanjambaa, president of the Bay Area Mongolian community. Luvsanjambaa acted as translator for the family.
Though Luvsanjambaa, Khishigdorj spoke of her daughter's dream. "She wanted to be a journalist, to travel the world and show the beauty of the world. Rachel Ray was her favorite."
The family moved to Alameda three years and two months ago. Their first impression was that America was a safe haven for everybody. But they soon learned it was not safe at all, especially for kids. Iko Bayarsaikhan's mother urged her to know who her friends were. Uranchimeg Khishigdorj said that the family moved to the United States for their two children, so that they could have a bright future. In addition to Iko, the family also has a 17-year-old son.
Alameda police released these composit sketches of the juveniles they believe shot and killed Ichinkhorloo Bayarsaikhan in Washington Park on Halloween. Anyone recognizing these individuals is asked to call the investigation hotline at 337-8381.
Uncle Ghana Khishigdorj asked the public to "Please help us find the people who did this to our community and to our Iko."
The father, Mandalmaa Bayarsaikhan, described Iko as "the light of our family. She always made us smile, made us happy. She was very motivated, a strong believer in her future. She always said, 'I will graduate and take care of you.'"
Luvsanjambaa, responding to a question from the press about the murder being news in Mongolia, said, "This didn't happen because Iko was Mongolian. It happened to a member of the community. We don't think of ourselves as Mongolian - it's American here. It just happened out of the blue. We are new to this society and some people don't know that we are living in danger and violence."
Mandalmaa Bayarsaikhan was a civil engineer in Mongolia, Uranchimeg Khishigdorj an accountant. But after moving to the United States, they had to start over. The couple now works in a pizza restaurant to support their family.
Mandalmaa Bayarsaikhan thanked Alameda police for setting up the press conference. "It's not very easy for us, for someone to come knock on our door," he said.
The family is currently working with the Alameda Unified School District and the PTA to establish a memorial fund in Iko Bayarsaikhan's name.
A vigil was held Saturday night by friends and family of the victim in upper Washington Park. Mourners spelled out the name Iko with approximately 1,000 candles.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the hotline at 337-8381.
A 15-year-old Alameda High School junior was shot at Upper Washington Park by what police describe as a group of five or six Asian male juveniles at approximately 10:12 p.m. Oct. 31. The victim, Ichinkhorloo Bayarsaikhan, was with a group of 10 friends when they were approached by the unknown males, according to police.
Witnesses say one of these men was armed with a gun, who fired it into the air with his final shot hitting the victim. "The victim's back was to the assailant," Lt. Art Fuentes, APD Investigations Division commander said. He believes the victim may have been in a defensive position.
At the time of the shooting, an APD officer monitoring the flashing red light on Webster Street and Central Avenue made a traffic stop in front of Washington Park. A friend of the Bayarsaikhan's ran to the officer who responded and notifed the Investigations Division. Responding units located the victim in the playground area of the park.
The Alameda Fire Department rushed Bayarsaikhan to Highland Hospital in Oakland where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries.
In a press release from APD, Fuentes states: "As this investigation unfolds it is clear that the motive for this tragedy was an attempted robbery. The Investigators have completed their crime scene sweep and have recovered evidence linked to this shooting."
Police believed the only option for the juvenile suspects to leave Alameda was via AC Transit. A bus driver was questioned, and said he remembered dropping off several male Asian juveniles near BART in Oakland.
BART and Oakland police assisted APD in a search of the BART station and train with the aid of dogs. The bus was impounded for investigators to obtain trace evidence and released. Currently, outside agencies are assisting in the search for the supects and APD says they are utilizing all available resources on the case.
In a press release, Fuentes stated: "I would like to start by saying the Alameda Police Department's deepest sympathies go out to family and friends of Ichinkhorloo. As a parent of a young daughter, I know this is a terrible tragedy.
"The Alameda Police Department is committed to utilizing all our resources and are working around the clock in order to bring the responsibles in this tragedy to justice."
A press release from the Alameda Unified School District read: "We were deeply saddened to learn that an Alameda High School Junior was shot and killed last night in an Alameda park. We are currently providing counselors and school psychologists to support students and staff at the school. Superintendent Dailey and Principal Mike Janvier will be contacting the family to offer their sincere condolences and any support that our staff can provide at this difficult time. We will continue to be aware of student needs in the coming days as we all cope with this tragedy."
Students at Alameda High were stunned after hearing of the incident.
"I was so incredibly shocked when I figured out who it was. I didn't really know her," said Leena Richman, a senior at AHS. "I've talked to her maybe once or twice but it really hit home. There really aren't any words to describe this. You start thinking, that could have been me, I could've been there."
"It felt weird being in school today," said Alameda High School junior Savanna Tracey. "There was a moment of silence, the news trucks were there and people getting interviewed. I didn't know the girl, but it's really sad."
Anjelica Hernandez, also a senior, said: "It just shows how violent Alameda is becoming. We used to think it's such a safe place but recently it's gotten a lot more violent."
This is the first homicide in Alameda this year.
The police are asking the public for help. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Alameda Police Department hotline at 337-8381.