SAN JOSE, Calif. - One of the victims in the violent stabbing attack at a San Jose church is a volunteer who also works for the City of San Jose. Nguyen Pham is recovering at the hospital with serious injuries.
Despite his injuries, Pham is said to be good spirits. Friends said he is a good guy with a big heart, passionate about helping the homeless especially during a pandemic. He is in stable condition but faces a long road to recovery.
“He has this philosophy that you have to make the world better that you have to help people who are struggling the most,” said Pham’s friend Huy Tran.
Friends describe Pham as selfless always wanting to help. Besides charity work with children in Vietnam, Pham worked directly with the homeless in San Jose.
He is a volunteer at Grace Baptist Church and was helping with its overnight shelter Sunday when he was stabbed.
“To find out that Nguyen was one of the people who was attacked that made me just immediately scared for him, scared for all the people who rely on Grace and for the people who put their time in Grace too,” said Tran.
Pham was one of five victims. He and two others were rushed to the hospital. A man and woman did not survive.
“There were injuries to his neck, his head, his face, and he’s going to take some time to recover,” said Tran.
“It’s a kick in the gut when you hear any member of your work team, of your work family has been seriously harmed like this,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Everyone is immediately on pins and needles.”
Liccardo said Pham worked in the city’s Office of Economic Development, most recently on the census.
“He is someone who is certainly beloved and there are many worried folks right now,” said Liccardo.
On Tuesday, a bouquet of flowers was outside Grace Baptist Church serving as a somber reminder of the violence that erupted.
Homeless advocates and friends of Pham hope the tragedy doesn't deter people from helping the homeless but serves as a call to action to do more.
“Our big hope is that people look at this and don't demonize the unhoused,” said Tran. “This is an example of what happens when people are out on the streets too long.”
Now, a person who spent most of his time helping others, the community is trying to help him. A GoFundMe set up to help pay for Pham’s medical bills has raised more than $20,000 in one day.
If you’d like to help, click here.
Nguyen Pham is a community hero to me. He has worked tirelessly to support vulnerable commun… Jenny Do needs your support for Emergency Fundraising for Nguyen
As for the suspect, several people who work closely with the shelter have identified him as a shelter guest KTVU interviewed earlier this month. KTVU is not identifying him until he’s been formally charged. He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.