Mom slays 2 of her children, then herself; Son, 13,said she had mental problems — (Philly.com)

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Philly.com

By G.W. MILLER III millerg@phillynews.com

March 24, 2005

JERRY DANG woke up when he heard his little brother screaming around 2 a.m. yesterday.

He ran down the steps, discovered his bloodied brother lying lifeless on the couch, saw his sister crumpled, face down in the corner of the living room, and his mother sitting on the floor crying.

Then he watched her plunge a knife into her belly.

“Her face changed,” Dang, 13, told the Daily News later. “She dropped to the ground and started shaking. Then it was over.”

Police said that Thuy Dang, 37, killed herself after stabbing two of her three children, Kenny Dang, 10, and Mimi Dang, 6, in their home on South Bancroft Street near Morris in South Philadelphia.

Jerry Dang called 911.

He said he had “tried to stop her” but couldn’t get to her im time.

“She said she can’t help me anymore,” Dang said.

His mother, a Vietnamese immigant who came to Philadelphia about 15 years ago, had wanted Dang to sleep downstairs with the rest of the family but he refused, he said. Dang said that before he fell asleep,his mother gave him a glass of water. He speculated that she had dropped a pill in it to knock him out.

“I can’t blame my mom,” Dang said. “She had mental problems. She was depressed.”

Thuy Dang had attempted suicide in 1996, her son said. She swallowed an excessive number of pills but was rushed to the hospital.

Jerry said his mother was supposed to be taking medication but had stopped recently.

“I just don’t know why she had to take my brother and sister. I’m going to be all alone now,” Jerry said tearfully.

“We all used to sit around and talk, bust on each other,” Dang said. “We’d just sit around and make each other laugh.”

Yesterday the house was full of grieving family and friends as plans for a Buddhist cremation the same day were put together.

Kenny Dang was to be cremated wearing his new sneakers and his Brian Westbrook football jersey.

“Kenny liked to throw the football,” said Eric Fulton, 11, a friend of Kenny’s since they were both in kindergarten. “We used to always go into the gym and play football.”

Fulton attended Barratt Middle School, 16th and Wharton, with Kenny and Jerry Dang.

Mimi Dang would probably be cremated wearing one of her favorite flowered dresses, Jerry said.

Thuy Dang no longer had a relationship with Jerry Dang’s father. She had two sisters and one brother, all living in Vietnam.

Thuy Dang’s mother lives in the South Philadelphia home and was there at the time of the murders. She came downstairs after her daughter’s suicide.

“My grandmother thought Kenny was sleeping,” Dang said.

He said he silently watched as she pulled the covers off Kenny’s face, worried he would suffocate.

“She saw the blood and everything and she started crying,” he said.

“There was blood everywhere,” said Dang, who will continue to live in the home with his grandmother.