A service to honor the memory of a Chinese scholar and murder victim will be open to all.
There have been few crimes in the history of Champaign County as disturbing as the 2017 kidnapping and murder of University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang.
All murders are tragic. They are often the product of impulsive and foolish behavior, mental illness or other criminal behavior.
But in terms of sheer evil, the attack on Ms. Zhang by the now-convicted Brendt Christensen, a former University of Illinois physics graduate student, was striking.
It was a sickening case of murder for sport carried out by a man without a conscience who will — and should — spend the rest of his life behind bars.
That horrific event, obviously, deeply affected Ms. Zhang’s family. Their highly accomplished daughter was their pride and joy, and the deep sorrow felt by her family has become this community’s sorrow as well.
That’s why news of a memorial service to be held for Ms. Zhang is welcome. The service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church, 1602 S. Prospect Ave., Savoy.
The Rev. Chuck Moore said the service is being held to “offer comfort and hope to individuals who are grieving.” May this kind gesture ease their pain in some small way.
The service, however, also is an opportunity for those community members who have been saddened by this shocking act of mindless violence and its aftermath to show their support for Ms. Zhang’s family, fiance and friends.
When senseless events like this occur, many people feel the urge to do something — anything — to show their sympathy. Unfortunately, there is little anyone can do beyond providing aid and comfort. Attending the memorial service is one way to demonstrate that concern for Ms. Zhang’s memory and those who loved her.