ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Edwin Woo wipes away a tear as he speaks about the 2011 murder of his father, Shui Keung “Tony” Woo.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
PEABODY — More than five years after Shui Keung “Tony” Woo was murdered in his family-owned restaurant, his grieving son addressed a room full of law enforcement officers about their impact.
“I never felt like it was just a job or just a murder case to any of you,” he told a room full of police officers, detectives, assistant district attorneys, and victim advocates at Peabody City Hall Tuesday.
Edwin Woo reflected on Sept. 27, 2011, the day his dad was brutally killed at the Majestic Dragon by three men who broke into the Route 1 restaurant intending to rob it.
Assistant Essex County District Attorney Maureen Wilson Leal said Tony Woo and his wife Annie Woo moved to the United States from China to pursue the American dream. They worked hard for many years, their son said. Tony Woo worked three jobs and his wife worked as a seamstress while they were raising Edwin and his brother Adam. They saved their money to buy the restaurant in 1987.
“Despite their tireless efforts, their dream was shattered,” Leal said.
While Tony Woo was sleeping on a cot in a back room of the restaurant, which he sometimes did when he felt too tired to drive home to Quincy, Cheng Sun, Sifa Lee, and Jun Di Lin broke into the restaurant through a skylight at about 3 a.m.. They attempted to rob him, tied his hands and feet and beat and strangled him to death. After five long years of court proceedings in Salem Superior Court, they were all convicted of murder.
Edwin Woo said one of the murderers was a former employee of the restaurant whom his father tried to help get on his feet.
After his father’s murder, pursuing a career in law enforcement felt right for him, he said. He has traded in his career in finance for a pair of handcuffs and now works as an outreach officer for the Braintree Police Department.
“In the aftermath, Adam and my mom stepped up with the restaurant,” Edwin Woo said. “The little ones (Tony Woo’s three grandchildren) at some point are going to find out what happened to their grandfather. I don’t want that to be the end of his story. I went into policing to continue the story.”
Edwin Woo thanked a state police officer for advising him not to see his father on the day of his murder, public relations officers for keeping the media at bay when talking to reporters was the last thing his family wanted to do, and Leal for becoming a part of his family. He said it was easy to forget that most of the people who worked on the case had never met his father.
“Speaking on behalf of my mother and brother, know that what you do generally does make a difference,” he said. “It takes a special person to do what you do and go home and have a life and a family.”