Brindra Giri, a 41-year-old mother of two who had moved to Towson from her native Nepal four months ago, was one of three people killed in a shooting at an Aberdeen Rite Aid warehouse on Thursday.
Harry Bhandari, a Democratic candidate for state delegate from District 8 and a teacher with Baltimore City Schools, said he has known Giri’s family for about 10 years.
Giri’s husband, Kashiram Giri, has lived in the United States for six years, Bhandari said, and had recently gained the residency status required to serve as her sponsor.
Brindra Giri brought the couple’s 16-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son from Nepal with her when she moved to the U.S. in May.
They joined several other family members, including Brindra Giri’s mother, Til Kumari Puri, and two brothers, as residents of Towson, said Bhandari, who was also born in Nepal and said he is from the same region of the Asian nation.
Bhandari described Giri as a friendly and positive presence, a woman who “never complained,” worked hard, and came to this country in part because she wanted to provide for her children the advantages she lacked while growing up in Nepal.
Bhandari said he sat with family members at their home in Towson until early Friday. He described them as “devastated” and “disconsolate” and said Puri, Brindra Giri’s mother, repeatedly bewailed the fact that her daughter died before she did.
Giri’s immediate family speaks only “limited English,” Bhandari said, and is not familiar enough with life in the U.S. to know where to turn.
“They’re brand new to the community. They don’t know where the resources are. They just keep on crying and stuff like that. They’re not very integrated to the community. That’s why I’m trying to help,” he said.
Bhandari said he took the day off Friday to begin helping with funeral arrangements, in part because the Hindu religion believes the dead should be buried as quickly as possible. He spent part of the afternoon helping Kashiram Giri work out details with a Parkville funeral home.
He said he had reached out to state agencies and to Rite Aid to seek help with funeral expenses, which he said would probably exceed $6,000.
A Nepalese-American woman who said she was a friend and co-worker of Giri described her — and the scene of the shooting — in Nepali to Bhandari, who translated her accounts into English.
The woman, who requested anonymity out of concern for her safety, said she gave Giri rides to work every day — Giri was working on earning her Maryland driver’s license while also studying English — and the pair spoke frequently over lunch and during breaks.
Giri had only been on the job for about three weeks, the woman said, and usually spoke about her children — particularly her daughter, who often good-naturedly teased her about being so “innocent” and “trusting.”
She also said Giri was a hard worker who went out of her way to help others in the job.
The woman said panic ensued as the shooter entered the warehouse, firearm drawn, and Giri was yelling at her coworkers — in the Nepali language — to run when she was gunned down from behind.
The friend said she believes she managed to survive because she decided to lie prone during the assault, creating the impression she was dead.
Five Nepalese-Americans worked in the production department at the warehouse, she said, including Giri, whose job was to receive orders as they arrived.
The woman said she saw the shooter reload a weapon — and that it was the first time she had seen a gun up close.
Bhandari said the news of the shooting “is all over Nepal,” a country where he said gun violence is a rarity.
“These guns — I mean, I understand the mental illness thing, but I’m worried,” Bhandari said.
At a news conference on Friday, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said the suspected shooter, Snochia Moseley, had a mental illness.
“If [the shooter] had a mental illness, how did she get the gun? That’s a conundrum,” Bhandari said. “As a nation, as a state, we have to figure that out. We have to do better than this.”
Families of the victims ask that donations be made to the Victoria Russell Foundation, a nonprofit established to foster a strong relationship between residents of Harford County and first responders.
Baltimore Sun reporter Catherine Rentz contributed to this article.