Though Brindra Giri had only been in the United States for five months, her funeral services drew hundreds of mourners Sunday, three days after Giri was shot to death at the Rite Aid warehouse in Harford County where she recently started working.
Crying and wailing filled an otherwise silent room at Evans Funeral Chapel in Parkville as other Nepalese immigrants paid their respects one by one, each leaving a flower in Giri’s open casket, per Hindu tradition.
By the end, a blanket of orange zinnia, yellow roses and pink carnations surrounded Giri’s placid face, adorned with a bindi — a red dot just above and between her closed eyes.
The 41-year-old was one of three people killed in the workplace shooting Thursday near Aberdeen. Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said Snochia Moseley, a temporary worker at the pharmacy chain’s distribution center in Perryman, shot one of her colleagues in the parking lot before entering the facility and firing at least a dozen rounds from a 9mm handgun.
Private services also were scheduled Sunday for another victim, Hayleen Reyes, a 21-year-old Baltimore woman from the Dominican Republic.
Giri was only three weeks into her job with Rite Aid, having moved to the country in May with her two children. They were joining her husband, Kashiram Giri, who immigrated six years earlier.
Kashiram Giri held the children, his 16-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, and howled as he said goodbye to his wife Sunday.
“I’ll take care of them,” he said in Nepali, according to family friend Harry Bhandari, translating to a reporter. “You did your part.”
Some 300 mourners came from across Maryland and the country, Bhandari said. There are an estimated 25,000 Nepali immigrants in Maryland, and though Giri was new to the community, her family has deep ties within it.
Many of them work in warehouses like the scene of Thursday’s violence, and were shocked that something like that could happen, said Bhandari, who is a candidate for state delegate in eastern Baltimore County.
“This is a really close community,” he said. “They’re confused why it happened. They thought it was a safe place.”
Even in her short time in Maryland, Brindra Giri did her part to build up that community, said Jedu Pokharel, vice president of a national group that unites Nepali immigrants, the Non-Resident Nepali Association.
“She had leadership ability,” Pokharel said. “Everybody liked her.”
Tarun Poudel, a close friend of the Giri family, said he visited the shooting scene with Kashiram Giri on Thursday as they awaited word on Brindra. Since they learned of her death, Poudel said, he has been focused on helping the family process its anguish and carry out the rituals of their Hindu faith.
“We are trying to bring solace to the family first,” he said.
That included cremation immediately after services Sunday, with plans to spread Brindra’s ashes in a nearby river or the Chesapeake Bay. According to the Hindu faith, the rituals release the soul from the body.
But Poudel said the Giris’ friends, family and the Nepali community soon would turn toward trying to understand how the shooting happened, and how it could have been prevented.
“How can an employee come in with a gun?” he asked. “That is a fatal security lapse there.”