Candlelight Vigil Held for Slain Columbia Pike Jeweler

by ARLnow.com August 2, 2012 at 10:32 am 6,450 19 Comments

Update at 4:10 p.m. — A suspect has been arrested in the case.

Some 200 people gathered in front of the Capital Jewelers store at 3219 Columbia Pike last night (Wednesday) for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of slain shopkeeper Tommy Wong.

The Herndon resident was killed at his store during a robbery on the afternoon of Friday, July 27. Police are currently working leads in an effort to catch the killer, who was seen on surveillance footage entering the store while wearing a yellow traffic vest.

Among the crowd at the vigil last night were Mr. Wong’s family members — wife Elizabeth, daughter Vivian and son Desmond — plus friends, former co-workers, local residents, fellow Columbia Pike business owners, and a number of police officers and detectives.

Those who knew Mr. Wong described him as a friendly, industrious man who went the extra mile for customers and who worked hard to provide for his family.

“We are here to celebrate Tommy’s life,” said Lindsey Nguonly, owner of Princess Jewelers in Rockville, Md. Nguonly said Wong, a Hong Kong native, worked at his store for 15 years after he helped sponsor his emigration to the United States.

“Tommy came here to live the American Dream,” Nguonly said. “He never said no to anybody who asked for help. It is unfortunate and inconceivable to believe his life has been cut short like this.”

Robert Beverly, a Skyline resident and frequent customer of Capital Jewelers, said Wong had “a gentleness that we don’t see in this society very often.”

“You don’t stand alone here,” he said, addressing Mr. Wong’s family. “We feel your pain and we stand with you. We’re hoping and praying that the detectives will catch this culprit.”

Amid tears, family members thanked those in attendance and spoke briefly, but lovingly of Mr. Wong.

“My husband was a good man,” said Elizabeth Wong.

“My father has been a perfect role model,” said his 25-year-old son, Desmond. “I couldn’t have asked for more from my father.”

Vivian Wong said the turnout at the vigil — which was large enough to prompt police to block one lane of westbound Columbia Pike — was “amazing.”

“It makes it a lot easier to know we have so many people here to help us through this tough time,” she said. “I know if my father was here, he would be really touched.”

Among those in attendance was County Board member Chris Zimmerman, who lives in the nearby Douglas Park neighborhood. Zimmerman didn’t speak at the vigil, but said he came out in solidarity.

“It’s a loss to our Columbia Pike community,” he told ARLnow.com. “It’s something that shakes you. It’s terrible.”

Zimmerman’s sentiment was echoed by a customer who described Mr. Wong as a man of integrity who had a “great sense of honor.”

“We all love [Tommy] and we are going to miss him,” she told the gathered crowd. “We are not going to ever, ever forget.”

  • what a lovely tribute. Clearly he was a great man given the number of people from all walks of life who attended. Sure hope they get the killer.

  • CW

    This is very sad.

    In the name of catching the killer, I am curious why the police are not releasing details such as the weapon involved?

  • Not Me

    I hope they catch that A-Hole and throw the book at him. What a [email protected]#% PRIQ the perp is.

    His life isn’t worth a tenth of Mr. Wong’s. To take the life of such an upstanding member of our community over what??? Some stupid money.

    He has no soul. I hope he fries.

    Mr. Wong and Family, my deapest sympathies for this senseless tragedy.

  • AL

    That is sweet. How come I wasn’t invited?!

  • Not Me
    • AL

      This is great! Although it seems almost too obvious that he would wear the same vest. Maybe somebody is trying to frame someone else!

    • Justice

      Good. I was wondering about the delay between the NBC 4 reports this morning and an official statement.

  • JackFan

    My most heartfelt sympathies to the Wong family. From all I’ve read he was a really good man. I haven’t patronized his store before but I certainly will in the future. Rest in peace Tommy Wong.

    • AL

      I was under the impression that it was going to be closed permanently. Right now it’s all boarded up!

  • Bella Luna

    RIP Mr. Wong & my condolences to his family and friends. I hope this individual gets caught and justice is done.

  • nom de guerre

    Arlington Police have announced an arrest in this case.


    • Bluemontsince1961

      Good news! I hope the murderer gets the book thrown at him.

  • Schmeff
    • Bluemontsince1961


  • SHLady

    My deepest sympathies to the Wong family.

  • Paula

    AWCI commenting on Facebook today as follows…..

    “Tommy Wong, CW21, will be greatly missed by the horology world. Words cannot express this great loss of a wonderful person. Condolences go out to Tommy’s family and his watchmaker companions, Manu Luabun and Dung Lam that traveled with him to AWCI classes on a regular basis.”

  • dbngo

    this is extremely sad, i’ve known him literally all of my life and its tragic to hear that he was so viciously killed. i cant believe he is gone and that i now live too far away to go to the vigil or funeral.

  • Mittendorf

    It is frustrating that these perps feel so entitled to take. They want everything easily and have no respect for those who do work hard and provide for their family and contribute to society. It is beyond my expertise to understand why criminals do what they do without regard to their fellow human beings or to themselves.

    My many condolences to the Wong family – I hope they find peace and peace of mind now that a suspect has been arrested. I know they will miss their father immensely. I hope that they are comforted by his legacy.

  • mark trusheim

    Tommy took a chance. An american capitalist who bought the business from some one else whom I did buisness with. Tough location , but his friendliness ,charm, and knowledge, made me keep comeing back. He was a freind of my wife and I and we knew most of all we could trust his desisions. He was fair. He made a customer out of you. I loved Tommy and prbably drove him crazy. My wife Dixie and I extend condolences to his kids most of all, his wonderful wife , and the rest of his hard working family. An American dream crushed. PLease. I hope a family member has the balls to fight back and keep the store open. Va. has the death penalty so lets geter done Mr. Governor.


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