Vigil Held for Woman Who Died After Beating Outside Nightclub

Kim Pham was punched and kicked in a melee that some onlookers caught on cellphone cameras outside a nightclub on Saturday

By Vikki Vargas, Jason Kandel, Kate Larsen and Andrew Lopez
|  Saturday, Jan 25, 2014  |  Updated 12:09 AM PDT
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Mourners held a vigil for a 23-year-old woman who was beaten outside a nightclub. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.

Mourners held a vigil for a 23-year-old woman who was beaten outside a nightclub. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.


As police announced a second arrest in the beating death of a 23-year-old woman, mourners held a vigil on Friday to remember the former Chapman University student and aspiring writer whose life was cut short after a melee outside a nightclub.

Dressed in white, mourners placed flowers and candles near the spot where Annie Hung "Kim" Pham was beaten last Saturday outside a Santa Ana nightclub.

"I hope that people out there realize how wrong this is," said Pham's second cousin, Kathleen Trinh during the emotional vigil.

Earlier, police announced that a 27-year-old Santa Ana woman was arrested in connection with the beating.

Police Chief Carlos Rojas declined to identify the suspect and did not immediately provide details on her arrest other than she was taken into custody at home.

Photos and Videos

Police Arrest Second Club Fight Suspect, Seek Third

Police have a second woman in custody and are looking for another in connection to the Santa Ana nightclub fight last weekend that left 23-year-old Kim Pham dead. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.

Police to Provide Updates in Case of Woman Beaten Outside OC Nightclub

Police were expected to give updates into the murder investigation of a 23-year-old woman who was beaten outside an Orange County nightclub over the weekend. One person has been arrested in connection with the murder of Kim Pham, a college student and aspiring writer. Police believe four others were involved in the attack. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at Noon on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.
More Photos and Videos

Police were still searching for a third woman, pictured below, who is suspected of participating in the post midnight Saturday brawl.

"We are looking for the third person. This is the one person that has not been identified," Rojas said. "She was involved in the phsyical altercation, and we are naming her as a person of interest at this point."

Pham was punched, kicked and knocked to the ground while she waited to get into the Crosby Restaurant and Nightclub in a beating that some bystanders captured on cellphone cameras, police said.

Woman Charged With Murder in Nightclub Beating Death

Police believe three people were involved in the attack and were reviewing footage from three cellphones from that night. Police have three videos from different angles, Rojas said. Some of the video has audio, he added.

Three security guards were on duty and at least one is seen in the video trying “to separate people,” the chief added.

An unrelated fight between several men broke out "almost simultaneously," adding to a "very chaotic" scene, Rojas said. There were about 50 people outside the club before the brawl, Rojas said.

Zavala was with a group of people leaving the club when a “verbal and physical altercation” occurred, Rojas said. There was no evidence to suggest the confrontation was motivated by gangs or racial animosity, he added.

Police have determined that only three women were involved in the attack on Pham, despite earlier reports that five people were being sought, Rojas said.

Vanessa Zavala, 25, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a second-degree murder charge in connection with the beating.

She was jailed on $1 million bond. Her attorney, Kenneth Reed, plans to hold a news conference on Monday to talk about the case against his client.

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Defense attorney Michael Molfetta, who represents the woman arrested, also declined to identify her.

Molfetta told NBC4 that what happened that night was explosive and senseless. He said that an inadvertent bump precipitated the fight and that his female client was hurt in the melee as well.

Pham died of complications from blunt force trauma to the head.

Although she was declared brain dead Sunday, Pham remained on life support while her organs were harvested, but she was taken off life support Tuesday and died around midday.

Pham graduated from Chapman University last year with a psychology degree and had worked to raise money for breast cancer awareness.

A reward totaling $11,000 was raised for information leading to the attackers.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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