(H/T A. Chen)
Las Vegas’ Burmese American community is reeling after last month’s murder of 25-year-old William Yar Parke.
Parke died following an incident that occurred at 2:30 am on December 28, 2014 outside of the Venetian hotel on the Las Vegas strip; that morning, Parke and a friend was leaving a party when the two were confronted by a group of men. Surveillance tape reveals that Parke was punched so hard by one of the men that he was knocked out cold, immediately falling back and hit his head on the ground. Although rushed immediately to hospital, Parke fell into a coma and was taken off life support the following day. The UNLV biology senior’s death was ruled a homicide, although motives are still unknown.
An excerpt of Parke’s obituary from the Las Vegas Sun appears after the jump:
Parke’s death has generated interest in the local Burmese community. His family fled from Burma to Guam in 2005, where they lived before arriving in Las Vegas in 2009 seeking political asylum, according to Aye.
Parke obtained U.S. citizenship in 2013 and changed his legal name to William Yar Parke, consisting of a Western first name and the last name of his aunt, Tint Tint Parke, who raised him while his mother worked abroad. The name that appears on his diploma from Spring Valley High School is Yar Pyih.
During high school, Parke worked at Sonny Sushi, first as a sushi chef and then as a marketing manager, said owner Sann Ni. Ni was also Parke’s first buyer when Parke obtained his real estate license.
While a full-time student at UNLV, Parke enrolled in an online course offered by Key Realty School in Las Vegas. The whole process took two-and-a-half weeks, said Teddy Federwitz, a real estate broker who saw his potential and hired him to sell homes as an agent for Key Realty. Parke sold about $1.75 million of residential real estate in his first year, said Federwitz.
“God, I love this,” Parke told him two weeks into the job. He had found his calling, said Federwitz. But he also listened to Federwitz’ advice: Don’t drop out of college.
“I talked him out of it,” said Federwitz. “You will always have your degree no matter what,” he told Parke.
Longtime friend Adam Naing said Parke already had enough credits to graduate approaching his last semester at UNLV this spring. The bachelor’s degree in biology was for a career in medicine, Parke’s mother said. She had always wanted him to be a doctor.
“For me, it’s so crazy,” Aye said. The two shared a house together in Las Vegas. “I didn’t have a chance to take care of, treat my son,” she said, “He was gone right away.”
“There’s nothing except heartache,” said Pawelek. “He was at the prime of his life.”
Parke is survived by his mother, his father U Waziyanyar Na, a monk at the Chaiya Meditation Monastery in Las Vegas, and his younger brother, Johnny K. Parke of Guam.
Parke was also active in the Burmese American community among his many extracurricular interests. Here is a YouTube video of Parke participating in a traditional Burmese dance.
Parke’s obituary and biography is published on the website of Palm Eastern Mortuary and Cemetary, and a GoFundMe has been set up in Parke’s name by his family, and supporters are encouraged to donate.