Woman Who Was Badly Beaten Outside Santa Ana Nightclub Dies

Adolfo Flores and Anh Do, Los Angeles Times, January 21, 2014

She was the youngest in a blended family, a psychology grad who discovered she’d really rather write—or talk, the big heart with the sunny personality who picked up causes and friends with a full embrace.

Kim Pham, friends and family agreed, would be the last person in the world to end up the victim of street violence.

But in the predawn hours Saturday, the 23-year-old was so severely beaten in a fight outside a trendy Santa Ana nightclub that she was still unconscious when the police arrived. By Tuesday, she was dead after being taken off life support.

Kim Pham

Kim Pham

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Santa Ana police have arrested a woman and continue to seek four other people in connection with the violent confrontation, which one friend said may have been triggered when Pham unintentionally walked in front of a camera as another group posed for a photo.

The Chapman University graduate, who aspired to one day host a talk show, hadn’t wanted to go out the night she and two friends arrived at the Crosby, a popular restaurant in Santa Ana’s historic district that becomes a lounge on weekends.

As they waited in line outside, an argument broke out between Pham’s friends and another group. Police had few details but said the two groups did not know each other and that Pham was hit and stomped in the melee. An eight-second video of the incident shows one person kicking at something on the ground as a crowd gathers.

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Mai Bui, executive editor of the “Pho for Life” and “Miso for Life” anthologies of essays and reflections that Pham contributed to, said that she became his close ally when he organized a fundraiser after the catastrophic tsunami in Japan.

“She did everything she could to make it a success,” he said. Bui said the two had planned to have lunch on Sunday, the day after her attack.

“She made us all smile,” said Jennyane Truong, managing editor of the anthologies. “When her father challenged her to be ‘a bigger person,’ she said: ‘How can I do that when I’m the smallest person in the family?’

“That’s how I remember her—witty, with an ability to laugh at herself and to bring so much happiness to others.”

[Editor’s Note: This article says that the suspects–two men and three women–are Hispanic.]

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