Honouring the Life of Phuong Na (Tony) Du


On Nov 22, 2014 Phuong Na (Tony) Du was shot and killed by Vancouver Police officers at the corner of 41st Ave and Knight Street. Tony was 51 years old and lived with a mental health illness. At the time of his death he was holding a 2×4 piece of wood in his hands, although witnesses say he was not a threat to anyone. He had no history of violence or record of assaults, yet he was shot dead within one minute of police arriving on the scene. This family statement was read at the vigil held for him in December, and was also read at the vigil for Naverone Woods in February. – Editors

By the family of Phuong Na Du

On November 22, a great tragedy befell our community one that has made us all question what is right and what is wrong. In the aftermath, a mother lost her son, brothers and sisters lost their sibling and the world was deprived of a gentle soul.

Tony was the second youngest sibling in his family. But looking at Tony you would never think that he was one of the runts of the litter. His sisters recall many fond memories of their brother playing and having fun as a child but the most universal part of Tony’s presence that he carried over into adulthood was his happiness. His smiles were ear to ear and his laughter echoed far and wide to the point where you could not help but share in his happiness.

Tony grew up in rural Vietnam where resources were scarce and you were lucky to have something to call your own. You would think that this would mold someone to become selfish and self-centered but it did the opposite for Tony. Ask those who know him best, no matter how little he had Tony always offered to share with others. That’s because he was truly a good person which in this day and age is in short supply.

Tony was a hard worker. He came to Canada with what was in his pockets alone. He had two jobs as a janitor which he worked up until his illness got the best of him. Although he had to quit his job as a janitor that didn’t stop him from cleaning. If you’ve ever been to Tony’s house then you would know that if nothing else the house was going to be spotless. Not many people would have been able to continue to do the things Tony did while battling such a debilitating illness but Tony did and he did so without forgetting who he was as a friend, brother or person.

To say Tony was a family man would be an understatement. Tony had immense love for his family. His relationship with his mother was the clearest example of that. Some would say he was a bit of a momma’s boy but no one can deny that he took care of his mother as best as he could. But his family didn’t just include his relatives, no, if you were lucky enough to be friends with Tony you would soon realize that he treated everybody like they were family as well.

It is not by the way in which Tony died that has brought us all here but by the way he lived. The world will remember him as a kind, gentle and caring man who will never be forgotten and will now live on in our hearts.

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