Cling to what’s good. Monique Clark was good.
That was the message recorded on a cellphone video from Kion Gould’s hospital bed. The short video was played during a memorial service for Clark, 35, who was fatally wounded April 30 when a gunman opened fire at a University City apartment complex where Gould was celebrating his birthday.
On Saturday morning, more than 300 people — including many of Clark’s family members and friends — gathered at The Rock Church in Point Loma to celebrate her life and the positive impact she had on so many people.
“I have great adoration for Monique,” said Gould, who wears a hospital gown in the video. “Her flaw is that she loved everyone around her without hesitation. Many of you can attest to that.”
He said he knew that even in death, Clark would continue to watch over her three young daughters — ages 13, 11, and 2 — and that they will be OK.
“She will be the invisible hand, along with God, in guiding their lives,” Gould said, his voice gentle but deliberate. “Her love was sincere. The only thing that we should hate is that which is evil and cling to that which is good.”
Monique DaVonna Clark was born April 19, 1982. On Saturday, her body lay in a closed casket at the front of the sanctuary, with purple and white roses draped over the lid. Purple was a favorite color of Clark’s, and many who came to the service wore shades of purple in her honor.
Everybody here feels like they lost a part of themselves when she was [taken] from us.
It was a service, held at the church where Clark had been a member since 2015, filled with music, laughter and more than a few tears.
“Everybody here feels like they lost a part of themselves when she was [taken] from us,” said Stephen Groves, Clark’s cousin, who wore a purple tie and a purple ribbon on his lapel. He told the crowd he was the first in the family to learn what happened to Clark on April 30, and he had to pass the information on to others.
“She was like my sister,” Groves said.
A younger cousin, Ronald Preston Clark, read the obituary he had written for Monique. He said it was a gift to her as well as her parents, Tony Clark and Michelle Fuget.
“Beautiful, feisty and curious, from the beginning Monique was the greatest kind of handful,” Clark said. “Spirited, a fighter and full of love, her energy was unmistakable and her family let her be. Attempting to bottle up a young Monique was unnecessary. She did everything to its max and lived life to its fullest.”
He noted the jobs Clark had worked in her teens and into adulthood, when she worked as a restaurant cashier at the San Diego International Airport. She later worked there in airport security, as her father had before he retired.
Her best accomplishment, the younger cousin said, was becoming a mother.
“There was nothing in her life more precious or important than loving and preserving her children,” he said. “Her final words only strengthened the bond she will forever have with her girls.”
He didn’t mention the specific words during the service. A guest at the poolside party where Monique Clark was shot said the words were, “Tell my kids that I love them.”
Besides Clark, six others were shot and injured that Sunday at the La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex. The gunman, 49-year-old Peter Selis, was killed in a shootout with San Diego police.
According to court document, Selis went to the pool area, sat in a lounge chair and drank from a beer bottle before pulling a pistol from a duffel bag and shooting. His sister, who rushed to the scene suspecting Selis’ involvement, told officers her brother was “extremely distraught” over a recent breakup with a girlfriend.
During the memorial service, Pastor Miles McPherson of The Rock Church acknowledged the other victims and their families, who are working to heal physically and emotionally.
“We pray that this incident will bring us together,” he said.
Several representatives from the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Fire-Rescue Department attended the service, as did City Council President Myrtle Cole and Councilwoman Barbara Bry, whose district includes University City.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer spoke briefly to the audience, describing Clark as “a beautiful soul.” He said a senseless act may have taken her away from her family and the community, but the memory of her kindness endures.
That, he told Clark’s daughters, is a part of her legacy.
“Our city stands with you,” he said.
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