Kyu and Cindy Cho, victims of the Allen, Texas Mall shooting, remembered

DALLAS (AP) — Kyu Cho had a generous spirit and a happy belly laugh that wowed his friends. His wife, Cindy Cho, was quieter and was described as sweet and friendly by those who knew her. Together, the parents of two small sons complemented each other perfectly, were strong in their faith and committed themselves to family and friends.

“That’s what I keep hearing in my head when I think about her: only Kyu laughs so deeply and Cindy just shakes her head and laughs along,” said her friend Phyllis Myung. “Every interaction I’ve had with them, we’ve always laughed so much.”

Cindy and Kyu grew up in Texas. They met while pursuing their careers as young adults in Boston – with her as a dentist, with him as a lawyer. Wanting to be close to their families, they decided it was time to return to Texas as they started a family of their own.

The couple and their sons – 6-year-old William and 3-year-old James – were not far from their Dallas home when a The shooter opened fire at an open-air mall while shopping in the Allen suburb earlier this month. Kyu, 37, Cindy, 35 and James were among them eight people killed on this sunny Saturday afternoon. The only survivor of the family was William, who was wounded.

This photo, provided by Young Min Kim, shows Kyu and Cindy Cho's wedding.
This photo, provided by Young Min Kim, shows Kyu and Cindy Cho’s wedding.

The killed represented a multicultural cross-section increasingly diverse area. The authorities have not yet determined this shooter motif, who was killed by a cop but they said he was a Neo-Nazi who left a trail of online posts describes his white supremacist and misogynist views.

The tragedy that befell the Cho family touched so many that a GoFundMe page quickly raised over $1.8 million before it was shut down. When William returned home from the hospital, family members said in a statement that their focus is on making sure he “lives a happy, healthy life with his extended family, who love him dearly.”

Cindy and Kyu, who met through their church in Boston, “really, really wanted to have kids,” Myung said.

“It often happened that one of them would hold one of the children in our church,” said Myung, who worshiped with them in Boston. “They were really ready to be parents.”

Thomas Huang, another friend from her church, said the phrase that always came to mind whenever he saw Kyu and Cindy together was “relationship goals.”

“Even though Cindy was definitely a bit more introverted and Kyu more extroverted, they kind of had this balance, it was like a perfect synergy of that energy,” Huang said.

For example, he said Kyu danced more than his wife, but at their wedding she made an effort to get people on the dance floor.

“She really made an effort to dance and kind of get people excited because she knew Kyu loved dancing and wanted to get everyone involved and get everyone excited,” Huang said.

Both “had incredible powers,” he said, and were like older siblings to many.

“Everywhere they’ve gone, at every stage of their lives, they’ve impacted people in such deep and profound ways,” Huang said.

Kyu, who worked as an immigration attorney at Porter Legal Group, was born in South Korea and raised in Dallas, according to the law firm’s website, which says he has “deep pride, respect and appreciation for the American Dream.”

This photo provided by Young Min Kim shows Kyu Cho.
This photo provided by Young Min Kim shows Kyu Cho.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2007 and graduated from Florida’s Ave Maria School of Law in 2010, the website said.

Cindy, who grew up in College Station and Houston, received her BA from the University of Texas in 2009 and graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at the San Antonio School of Dentistry in 2013.

The Dean of the Dental School, Dr. Peter M. Loomer said that Cindy—who was called Cindy Kang before her marriage and worked under that name when she was a practicing dentist—“was a kind and caring student who always did her best to contribute to the betterment of health. “ and the lives of their patients.”

A Facebook post from Thrive Dental and Orthodontics, where she works, said she was “the sweetest, most beautiful soul with the kindest heart.”

“Growing up, Cindy loved to read and was serious when needed,” said David Kim, whose family attended the same Korean church as her family in College Station. He said the families remained close even after Cindy’s family moved to Houston, where they still met for trips to places like the old AstroWorld amusement park.

“She’s just a sweet soul,” Kim said.

In addition to mastering the art of taekwondo, Kyu could play everything from classical music to coldplay on the piano, his friends said. Friend Young Min Kim said he was someone who could talk to anyone.

Adam Dame, Kyu’s four-year roommate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, said he knew within a week or two after meeting that he was “entering the roommate lottery.” Kyu, he said, had an “infectious, big laugh.”

“I always wanted to make him laugh because I just loved hearing it,” Dame said. “He brought you much joy.”

Myung said both Kyu and Cindy were committed to making people feel “included, cared for and seen.” She said as she grieves, she comforts herself with the hope of seeing her friends in heaven again.

“I think the only thing that can ease grief is knowing that one day we will all laugh together again,” Myung said.

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