Less than a week after three UPS workers were gunned down by a colleague at a Potrero Hill warehouse, a group gathered feet from the scene to mourn the dead Monday.
The prayer service for Mike Lefiti, 46; Wayne Chan, 56; Benson Louie, 50; and Jimmy Lam, 38 — who police say turned the gun on himself after fatally shooting his coworkers — included Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Protestant and Catholic prayers by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, whose Restorative Justice Ministry organized the event.
Five faith leaders spoke and prayed on gun violence and collective healing Monday afternoon as a contingent of UPS workers, including some who witnessed the June 14 deaths of three of their colleagues. Lam opened fire at a morning meeting just after 9 a.m. at the facility at 320 San Bruno Ave., killing three men before turning the gun on himself.
“Four more of your beloved children have been cut down by gun violence,” began the Rev. Richard Smith of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist. “Today is for lamentation, for our hearts to break as their wives and mothers and children weep for them, refusing to be consoled because they are no more.”
As the prayer service went on, people who stood nearby cried, embraced or simply stood in silence.
Among that crowd was UPS employee Al Medina, who was downstairs in the warehouse the day the shooting occurred. “Mike Lefiti was my best friend,” said Medina. “He’s my mentor.”
Medina said he knew Lam, too, and described him as a quiet man who was always laughing.
“I’m in shock,” Medina said.
Among the crowd was also Jerry Ugalino, an 18-year UPS driver. He knew all of the men who died and worked with Lam, who he too described as quiet. Ugalino remembers working with Lam when Lam first started at UPS.
The prayer service’s audience also included at least two men who saw the killings Wednesday.
Shaun Koch, a 38-year-old UPS driver, saw much of the shooting, and knew all the victims.
He said all the people who died were “great guys,” even Jimmy. “He’s a father,” he said. “It’s important to remember that, as hard as it is. It upsets me, that it’s him.”
Joseph Cilia, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 2785, said most of the people who were working last week when the shooting happened have not yet returned to work.
“The members are not doing very well at all,” he said. But Monday’s prayer service and a formal union-organized memorial June 9 at City Hall will help bring closure.
None of the men’s family members were at the prayer service, though the families of all three victims have set up GoFundMe pages to help raise money for funeral expenses and the families of the deceased.
Chan’s page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/wayne-chan-ups, and Lefiti’s at https://www.gofundme.com/in-honor-of-mike-lefiti-big-mike. Louie’s page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/BensonLouie .
“He will always be remembered as the smiling goofy family man, chummy community member with an infectious personality, and an all-around wonderful soul whom the world had lost too soon,” reads the GoFundMe page set up for Chan, who had two children and lived in The City.
So far, the fundraising page has collected more than $10,000. It’s goal is $50,000.
Lefiti, a Hercules resident who left behind three children, also has a GoFundMe page, which hopes to raise $100,000. As of Monday it had raised more than $11,000.
“On June 14th our beloved Mike Lefiti went to work as he did every day with a smile on his face. Tragically, Mike was called home to be with God that day leaving our family grief-stricken and stunned,” reads the page.
It continued, “Mike, affectionately known as “Big Mike,” was larger than life in personality. He loved his family immensely and was a man of great faith. A teamster for over 17 years, his work allowed him to touch so many people.”
The third victim who was killed last week, Louie, also has a fundraising page set up for his family.
“Benson was a devoted son, loving husband, proud father, selfless friend and a dedicated volleyball coach and mentor. He was also a hardworking UPS employee for 17 years and was greatly appreciated by all of his customers,” reads Louie’s GoFundMe page.
Police did not release new information on the killings Monday afternoon.