Family members mourn slain South Philly food cart vendor

Hoanh Ly said his father Don practiced the same daily routine for about 17 years.

The hardworking father and husband, who emigrated from Vietnam in 1990, would around 5 a.m. load up his fruit cart, hitch it to his car and drive to 34th and Walnut streets, where he was stationed each day for well over a decade.

Ly usually helped his father set up the cart outside their home on the 400 block of Vollmer Street in South Philadelphia.

“But today, I had to take a leave to go to a National Guard drill,” the active U.S. Army reservist said Thursday. “So I was inside getting ready.”

That’s when police said Don Ly was attacked, stabbed multiple times in the face and neck.

His son said he managed to stagger from the curb to the front of their home.

A trail of blood could still be seen on the street Thursday, tracing his path.

“I saw him knock on the window,” Hoanh Ly said.

“I came out and he just collapsed in my arms.”

Don Ly was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he soon died.

“It’s a senseless act,” Ly said. “Somebody has to be held accountable – and somebody has to know something.”

Police on Thursday shared similar sentiments, saying they were baffled by the brutal crime.

Detectives are still reviewing surveillance video in the hopes they may see someone fleeing the scene, but the search proved fruitless as of Thursday afternoon.

Nothing was taken from the stocked cart and Ly still had his wallet and jewelry.

Investigators said the motive doesn’t seem to be domestic, either.

“He lived on his block for 17 years without any incidents, without any problems, from my understanding,” homicide Capt. James Clark said.

“He was a loving husband and father. It’s very sad and very senseless that he would die in this way.”

Ly leaves behind a wife, four children and one granddaughter.

His family is setting up a memorial fund, The Don Ly Trust.

Contributions can be sent c/o Hoanh Ly to:

426 Vollmer Street

Philadelphia, PA 19148

“I am a U.S. Army veteran. Also, I am my father’s son and I am begging the members of the public for help,” Hoanh Ly said.

“All the time I protected this country, what type of people can protect my dad? It’s very sad.”


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