PHOENIX - A memorial service was held Thursday afternoon for two Karenni refugees stabbed to death in Phoenix late last month.
Police say 53-year-old Ker Reh and 24-year-old Kay Reh were trying to protect younger community members when they were attacked.
According to court documents, a group approached the younger refugees, used racial slurs and started a fight.
The refugees got away, but not long after a larger group armed with knives and metal rods confronted them.
The refugees ran to an apartment where they knew community members were gathered to hold a prayer service for someone who had recently passed away. The suspects followed and attacked the men as they tried to calm them down.
The Karenni are among several ethnic groups in Burma, also known as Myanmar. After receiving refugee status, the United States government invited them to start new lives in Phoenix.
Through a translator, family members told ABC15 that Ker Reh was a hard worker who took care of his wife and three children while Kay Reh drove his father to work and was teaching his parents to read and write.
Memorial funds have been set up at Bank of America to help the families with funeral and living expenses.
Ker Reh Memorial Fund Account #457026753625
Kay Reh Memorial Fund Account #457026753638
Phoenix police are investigating the case as a possible hate crime.
They arrested 22-year-old Johnny Leander Romero on murder and burglary charges.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO.
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