· CONCORD: Shooting of deliveryman Monday is the third incident to recently affect close-knit community
By Malaika Fraley
Article Launched: 02/14/2008 03:10:04 AM PST, Contra-Costa Times
Bay Area Mongolians have been shaken by the shooting of a pizza deliveryman in Concord, the third violent incident involving members of the Mongolian community in recent months.
"A girl was killed (in Alameda), and then two more incidents," said Shirchin Baatar, co-founder and past president of the Bay Area Mongolian Community Association, which provides support and social opportunities for an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 area Mongolians, a close-knit community largely settled in the East Bay.
"In the last 10 years, we've seen people killed in car wrecks, suicides, fatal illnesses. People have died, but none have been victims of this kind of violence. We are pretty shocked," Baatar said.
Bayarra Sovdoo, 36, was shot in the stomach Monday night as he was delivering a Domino's pizza to the Best Western Heritage Inn at 4600 Clayton Road in Concord. Police said the pizza request was bogus, a setup for the robbery.
In online message groups, Bay Area Mongolians have been discussing the shooting and other recent acts of violence involving members of the community, Baatar said.
Ichinkhorloo "Iko" Bayarsaikhan, 15, was shot and killed during a robbery in an Alameda park on Halloween. Oakland resident Pelgee Sukh was also shot while delivering a pizza, Jan. 21 at International Boulevard and 84th Street in Oakland. A bullet grazed his head, causing a wound that required hospitalization, Baatar said.
Baatar said people are warning each other to get rid of delivery jobs, which recent immigrants often take because they are easy to get and require limited English skills. The majority of Mongolians are Buddhist and practice nonviolence. Firearms are banned by the Mongolian government and most recent immigrants are naive to the threat of gun violence, according to Baatar.
"People are panicking -- very scared," Baatar said. "They are saying they need to be careful; need to change jobs.
In the Concord shooting, Sovdoo was walking to the hotel when he was robbed by a thin man in a gray hooded sweatshirt. The thief stole the pizza and was running away when Sovdoo began to chase him, Lt. Andrew Gartner said. The thief dropped the pizza and shot Sovdoo. Gartner said it's unclear if cash was stolen or if Sovdoo knew the robber had a gun.
Police continued to search for the shooter Wednesday as Sovdoo remained in a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit of John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. Sovdoo, a married father, is expected to survive.
About 40 family members and friends in the Mongolian community were at the hospital Monday night as Sovdoo underwent the first of several scheduled surgeries, Baatar said.
Sovdoo's family has lived in the country for a few years and has been active in association events, Baatar said. Sovdoo's wife is pregnant with another child and has been crying since her husband called her in the moments after he was wounded, Baatar said.
The association is setting up a fund to help Sovdoo's family pay for medical costs and is working with the Mongolian embassy to arrange for Sovdoo's parents to visit.
"Concord is actually very safe, you know, compared to Oakland. So is Alameda," Baatar said. "These have been exceptional cases."
Malaika Fraley covers crime and public safety. Reach her at 925-945-4782 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.