Two weeks after the killing of pregnant Seattle restaurant owner Eina Kwon, the Tom Douglas family of restaurants is leading a fundraising effort to help her family recover from the sudden loss. On Wednesday, June 28, 20 percent of all sales at any of the Tom Douglas and Company restaurants will go toward the GoFundMe set up for the benefit of the Kwon family. Other restaurants are joining the effort including Matt’s at the Market, Rachel’s Bagels and Burritos, and Full Tilt Ice Cream.
Eina Kwon was shot and killed in a car on Tuesday, June 13, blocks away from Abuirya Bento House, the restaurant she co-owned with her husband, Sung Kwon, who was shot in the arm but survived. Eina was eight months pregnant with the couple’s second childl though surgeons delivered the baby, the child did not survive. A 30-year-old man named Cordell Goosby was arrested shortly after the shooting and later charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault; the gun he allegedly used was stolen and he did not appear to have any relationship to the victims, according to police. Goosby was showing signs of a mental health crisis at the time of the shooting, according to Seattle police. A funeral was held for Eina and her child on Friday, June 23.
The tragedy has touched off a fresh wave of anger in Seattle, where debates over downtown crime and homelessness are constant, and has rekindled concerns over violence against AAPI communities. One recent rally organized by a Korean American who unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Republican in suburban Tacoma last year singled out Seattle’s supposedly soft-on-crime policies as one root cause of the shooting.
The shooting was also jarring for downtown restaurant workers and owners, who have struggled as crime in the area remains common. Though crime rates have fallen, there are still people openly using and selling drugs on the streets, as well as people experiencing mental health distress.
“There are pockets where you see things improving, there are pockets where you see that it’s not improving,” Tom Douglas managing partner Eric Tanaka, who organized the fundraiser, tells Eater Seattle. “We are just looking for a consistent trend towards more public safety. It’s not going to be an overnight fix. Everybody is working on it. But it is a difficult problem at this point.”
For the Kwon family fundraiser, Tanaka took inspiration from a fundraiser for victims of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey that was organized by Paul Osher, the owner of Rachel’s Bagels and Burritos, who serves on the Seattle Restaurant Association board with Tanaka.
So far the GoFundMe for the Kwon family has raised around $280,000 of a $500,000 goal. Aburiya Bento House remains closed.