Soldiers in BB gun car chase summoned by police

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Soldiers in BB gun car chase summoned by police

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Two of three U.S. soldiers, who are suspected of shooting a BB gun at civilians and then got involved in a late night car chase, appear yesterday before the Yongsan Police Precinct in central Seoul for questioning. [NEWSIS]

The soldiers who are suspected of shooting what was thought to be a BB gun at civilians and then got involved in a late night car chase were summoned by the Korean police yesterday.

The Yongsan Police Precinct said yesterday two of the three soldiers who are involved in the case, including a 26-year-old staff sergeant of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) and a 22-year-old female corporal, appeared before the Yongsan office for questioning.

A 23-year-old corporal, who was previously reported as a private, first class, couldn’t respond to the summons because he is still in the hospital after being shot in the shoulder by a Korean police officer.

The police asked why they threatened civilians and why they refused to identify themselves at the time. They also asked if the soldiers were drunk.

They expect to have the answers to their questions by today.

Late Saturday night, a Seoul citizen reported to the Itaewon Police Station that a group of American soldiers were threatening civilians with something like an air gun near the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon, central Seoul.

Police officers surnamed Gwak and Bae found the three in a gray Kia Optima sedan parked on the street near Itaewon Subway Station. The police said on Sunday that they weren’t able to identify the woman who was in the sedan but later identified her as a 22-year-old female corporal of the USFK.

A 30-year-old police officer surnamed Lim was near the scene helping a foreigner who was locked up in a bank ATM booth when a taxi driver surnamed Choi, 38, who witnessed the soldiers running away from the subway station, told him what he saw and asked the officer to get in his cab.

Officer Lim and the taxi driver chased the soldiers who drove their car up to 160 kilometers per hour (99 miles per hour) and eventually followed them into a dead end in Seongsu-dong, Gwangjin District, eastern Seoul, at 12:10 a.m. yesterday.

The American soldiers in the vehicle drove at Lim four times after seeing the officer getting out of the taxi. Lim, who later said he feared for his life, fired a blank into the air as a warning and then fired three live bullets into the car, but the soldiers fled after hitting Lim in the knee with their car.

The police found the car they abandoned in Munbae-dong, Yongsan District, about 1 kilometer away from the USFK’s base. The police found some BBs in the car and bloodstains on the driver’s side seat.


By Lee Yu-jeong, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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