Church leaders, congregants pray outside Costa Mesa City Hall, where employee jumped to his death
With heads bowed and the rain pouring, local church leaders and hundreds of congregants encircled Costa Mesa City Hall in prayer Monday.
Representing numerous faiths, they prayed in a show of support as the city grapples with the apparent suicide of one of its employees and the layoffs of others in six months.
"Today we're simply here to show support and love for our city in light of everything that's been happening," said Becks Heyhoe, an organizer for One Church for Our City, a coalition of Costa Mesa churches. "There's a lot of unrest and a lot of change. Morale has been low."
From noon to 12:45 p.m., more than 200 people, mostly congregants from churches such as Rockharbor and Soul Survivor, stood in prayer on the walkway lining City Hall. They were holding white roses.
Along with 208 other city employees, Huy Pham, 29, was set to receive a layoff notice Thursday. The Fountain Valley man never collected the manila envelope containing a letter signifying that his job would be outsourced in six months to the day.
Instead, Pham, who had been training for a mountain climbing trip in the Himalayas, went to the roof of City Hall and jumped to his death.
Public Services Director Peter Naghavi had Pham's layoff notice with him when he went to the city maintenance offices on Placentia Avenue to hand them out to workers Thursday.
But Pham wasn't there. At about 3:20 p.m., witnesses saw him leap from the eastern rooftop at City Hall, five stories up.
-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot / Times Community News
Photo: Church members encircle Costa Mesa City Hall as they hold a group prayer in support of the city of Costa Mesa. Credit: Don Leach / Daily Pilot