Crime

GoFundMe Launched for Family of Burmese Restaurant Owner Killed by Stray Bullet

Ma Kaing, owner of Taw Win Burmese restaurant.
Ma Kaing, owner of Taw Win Burmese restaurant. Michelle Christiance Photography
Ma Kaing, the 47-year-old owner of Taw Win Burma restaurant at 1120 Yosemite Street in Aurora (one of just two Burmese restaurants in the metro area), was killed outside her home at Hidden Brooks Apartments, 1313 Xenia Street, on July 15 after being hit by a bullet that came from New Freedom Park across the street. Kaing was unloading groceries with her family when she was struck; she was pronounced dead on the scene when the police responded just before noon. 

According to Fox31
, the family says it took forty minutes for help to arrive at the scene.

Sharon Knight, president and CEO of Hope Communities, a nonprofit organization that helps people find affordable housing, educational programs and support, started a GoFundMe for Kaing's family. Hope Communities owns Hidden Brooks Apartments, and Knight had come to know Kaing well over the years.

"She lived with us for fifteen years and was active in the community and within the broader community," Knight says. "I got to know her and appreciate her."

The goal of the GoFundMe is $20,000 to pay for a memorial and immediate living expenses for Kaing's family. As of July 20, it had raised nearly half that, with a $3,000 contribution from an anonymous donor.

Kaing was a boardmember of the East Colfax Neighborhood Association, which posted a message on Facebook that read, in part: "Ma was giving of her time to help others, and she was truly a light in this neighborhood."

Knight describes Kaing as a devoted mother and a leader in the community who was very generous with her time and always looking to help others. "During the pandemic, she would knock on people's doors and make sure they were okay," Knight recalls. Kaing helped start the East Colfax Food Bank at Counterpath, 7935 East 14th Avenue, and she and Knight worked together to help with food distribution.

The East Colfax community is devastated by Kaing's death, Knight says, adding that many people who attended a memorial at the gardens of Kaing's apartment building on July 19 are traumatized by the tragic incident.

This isn't the first time gun violence has wreaked havoc on the East Colfax community. There were four shootings reported in Denver on July 15, including one in which a man was shot on the 1000 block of East Colfax.

"As we remember the beautiful life that Ma led and the impact she had on our neighborhood, we remind also that she is just one of the people recently killed by gun violence in East Colfax," the ECNA's Facebook post continues. "This shouldn't happen to anyone, and we must do better and demand more of our elected officials to put an end to the constant gun violence that has impacted so many of our neighbors."

The Denver Police Department is currently investigating the homicide. Anyone with information about the shooting can contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867; there's a reward of up to $2,000 for information.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katrina Leibee, a recent graduate of Colorado State University, is an editorial fellow at Westword, covering politics, business and culture.
Contact: Katrina Leibee