In about an hour Sunday, members of Philadelphia's Chinese community collected nearly $10,000 for the family of a restaurant owner killed in a botched robbery Friday in Tacony.
The victim, Xiang Huang, 27, and his wife, Jin Zheng, 25, eked out a living - earning about $100 a day and a bit more on weekends - from the takeout restaurant and corner store they called Jin House. They opened their business about seven months ago.
He worked 12-hour days. She raised their three young children in their upstairs apartment.
Early Friday evening, two men wearing ski masks stormed into the restaurant, demanding money. Huang was cooking. Zheng was near the register. She told the men to take what money they had. When Huang walked toward the cash register, he was shot in the chest.
He collapsed by the register. Zheng stood nearby, holding their 8-month-old baby girl, the youngest of their three children.
The robbers ran off empty-handed. It was the third robbery at the restaurant since it opened, Zheng said.
On Sunday, community leaders gathered in Chinatown at the offices of the Greater Philadelphia Chinese Restaurant Association to discuss the killing and offer solace and contributions.
Tears occasionally streamed down Zheng's face. The couple's two older children - Cindy, 6, and Mina, 2, - climbed on a black leather sofa and whispered to each other, and a relative held young Anna in her arms.
The donations, from about a dozen contributors, will help defray funeral costs and other expenses. As Jian Wong, chairman of the Philadelphia Fujian Association, put it: "This is a start."
Community leaders said they had also contacted the Chinese consulate for help in getting visas for Huang's parents so they can attend their son's funeral.
Zheng, who spoke in Chinese through a translator, said she had met Huang seven years ago through friends. They married a year later. She described him as humble and hardworking.
She said she hoped he was in a peaceful place and happy.
Huang worked as a cook in other Chinese restaurants before they opened their own place, at Tulip Street and Longshore Avenue, in hopes of making more money. They borrowed from family and friends.
Police had made no arrests, authorities said Sunday. Earlier in the day, Philadelphia police Sgt. Tim Cooney, who attended the meeting, told the group authorities were canvassing the neighborhood, and also advised that solving the case was "going to take a lot of community involvement."
He said surveillance video from a neighboring property showed the masked robbers entering and leaving. But, he said, the video was not clear.
The couple did not have security cameras or protective glass, police said.
Such robberies have become a harsh business reality for some Asian business owners. On Thursday, law enforcement agencies, including representatives from the Philadelphia police and the Montgomery and Delaware County District Attorney's Offices, met with Asian American business owners in Elkins Parks to make them aware of how to protect themselves and get help.
"It's definitely an issue. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had these many people coming together," said Allan Wong, a member of the Philadelphia Police Asian American Advisory Committee who attended both the Elkins Park and Chinatown meetings.