RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – Thousands filled a Rancho Cordova church on Friday night, the church Alina Bukhantsov and her children attended just a few days before they were brutally slain in their home.
It was a very emotional service where Alina’s parent’s and the parents of her killer stood together. The congregation at the church is normally bound by faith, but tonight they were bound by tragedy as they mourned the loss of their most well-known and well-loved members and her babies, Aline and Avenir.
“It’s been hard on everyone and I can’t even imagine, or their families,” said church member Lari Salutskova.
“The Russian and Ukrainian community is very close, and when one of them dies in such a tragedy with two small children, the community responds,” said the pastor.
In front of the thousands of mourners stood two families whose strength was tested by the murders. Denis Bukhantsov’s own brother is accused of stabbing Denis’ wife and two kids to death. Denis stood between his parents and his wife’s parents, while just a few feet away were the bodies of the victims in one casket.
Denis spoke about Alina and called her “his blessing.”
Pastor George Davidiuk is over the largest Slavic church in the country. He says his congregation’s faith is strong enough to help Denis and his family move forward and forgive the one man accused of causing an entire community to mourn.
“A lot of people knew Alina. They knew that she was a Sunday school teacher; she taught a lot of their children, so they’re outpouring of affection is amazing,” said Davidiuk.
Another memorial will be held at the church on Saturday at 10 a.m. You can watch the service live here.