Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Korean Retreat Shooting

A gunman opened fire at a remote Korean Christian retreat center in Temecula, California, Tuesday, April 7, 2009, night, leaving one person dead and at least three people injured, authorities said.


Authorities in Southern California have identified a man they say opened fire at a Korean religious retreat, killing a woman and wounding a man before being beaten and disarmed in a fight with two other people.

Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Mitchell Alm says the man is 69-year-old John Chong, a volunteer who lives at the Kkottongnae (GOHT'-dohng-nay) Retreat Camp in Temecula, about 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles. He was earlier believed to be 72 years old.

Chong is hospitalized and is unconscious.

Authorities have no information on the motive for the violence that broke out Tuesday night.

Alm says the man who was shot is in serious condition and the two other people who were injured in the fight with Chong also remain hospitalized but their conditions are not serious.

AP's earlier story is below.

Investigators are trying to determine why a 72-year-old man opened fire at a remote Korean Christian retreat, killing a woman and wounding three other people before being disarmed during a struggle with some of his victims, authorities said Wednesday.

The man was hospitalized in guarded condition, Riverside County sheriff's Detective Jesse Martinez said. His identity was not immediately released.

Detectives were puzzling over the attacker's motives for the Tuesday shootings at the Kkottongnae (GOHT'-dohng-nay) Retreat Camp in Temecula, about 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Investigators hadn't determined if there was any relationship between the victims and the gunman, and having trouble piecing together exactly what transpired because many victims speak only Korean.

"That language barrier, that's the key to figuring out what happened," sheriff's spokesman Dennis Gutierrez said.

The gunman, armed with a revolver, attacked a couple in a cabin, killing the unidentified woman with a single shot and wounding a man in the chest, sheriff's Sgt. Michael Lujan said.

He then tried to kill a man and a woman in another cabin, firing two shots in the air before they managed to disarm him following a fist fight that injured all three, knocked over furniture and damaged a door, Lujan said.

"It was hand-to-hand," he said.

The remaining victims, all older than 50, were hospitalized and expected to live, Lujan said.

The campground, located along an isolated road amid rolling hills, has eight to 10 cabins for visitors and semi-permanent residents.

The retreat is one of four U.S. branches of the Kkottongnae Brothers and Sisters of Jesus, a Roman Catholic organization dedicated to serving the poor and homeless. It was founded in the city of Cheongju, South Korea, by Father Oh Woong Jin in 1976.

Kkottongnae means "flower village" in Korean.

"We have some nuns that are very distraught," Gutierrez said. "

A woman who answered the phone at the group's Lynwood branch about 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles said she did not speak English well and declined to discuss the shooting.

At the group's headquarters in Eumseong, South Korea, south of Seoul, spokesman Brother Matthew Park said he has been unable to get through to branch officials in California and only learned about the shooting through news reports.

The campground, previously used as a summer camp before the group bought it, was marked by a single white sign in English and Korean on the side of the winding road in remote southeast Riverside County.

Several women from the retreat sat wrapped in blankets outside the law enforcement lines.

"This is the last place this is supposed to happen," Gutierrez said, reported the AP.


Pyroclastic Kong said...

In Florida: CASSELBERRY, Fla. -- A central Florida woman who fatally shot her son then killed herself at a shooting range said she was the anti-Christ and that she needed to save her son.

In rambling, teary audio recordings left for her boyfriend and authorities, as well as shorter suicide notes, Marie Moore, 44, apologized several times and said repeatedly: "I had to send my son to heaven and myself to Hell."

Anonymous said...

If shootings are increasing leading up to the Columbine anniversary, does that mean they will taper off again post that date?

Do all of these copycat events in turn spawn their own copies, or is there a kind of 'friction' that eventually causes copycat events to fade out?

Thanks for your blog. It is very interesting.

Loren Coleman said...

In the month after Columbine, it was a time of intense copycatting, with 400 incidents recorded. Most were "scares" but fatal incidents occurred in two locations.

The study of patterns and cycles of the copycat effect is not an exact science yet. It does appear to have a lot to do with the media reaction after a large event.

For example, think about how the focus of the Amish school shooting shifted from over-reporting about the killer (as happened with the VA Tech killer) versus the "unexpected, forgiving" reaction of the Amish community. It grew quiet for the winter, after that event, which became the end of a series.