The last time Chainarong Khovananth’s sister saw her brother alive was on her daughter’s birthday.
“He had been to Mexico and brought her back a beautiful leather jacket. He loved her like he did his own,” she said tearfully.
Khovananth, a 32-year-old parking attendant who immigrated from Thailand 10 years ago, lived with his wife and two children in a small frame house that abuts a freeway in Sun Valley.
A quiet, friendly man, Khovananth loved to spend hours in his yard gardening.
An assailant stalked through that garden around 6 a.m. July 20, entering the house and fatally shooting Khovananth. He then tied up and beat Khovananth’s wife, Somkid, and his 8-year-old son. Both survived. A 2 1/2-year-old daughter slept through the ordeal and was not harmed. Khovananth was buried with a deck of playing cards at his side, relatives said.
“He loved blackjack,” his sister explained. “But it wasn’t really the card game he liked. It was being with his family, friends . . . making them happy.”