Student leaps from building, lands on passerby

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Student leaps from building, lands on passerby

A depressed college student jumped to his death from the 20th floor of an apartment building in Gokseong County, South Jeolla, and fell on a lauded civil servant, killing him.

The 39-year-old civil servant was walking home from a bus stop with his wife and their 6-year-old boy, police said. The wife was eight months pregnant.

The college student died immediately from a fractured skull, while the victim was transported to a nearby hospital but died about three hours later.

Police identified the student as a 25-year-old college senior who attended school in Gwangju and lived in a different apartment complex nearby. He reportedly jumped from the highest floor of a 20-floor apartment building around 9:50 p.m. Tuesday and left behind his cell phone, backpack and shoes.

In his backpack was a two-page note, part of which read, “I’m a lump of inferiority. My life is trash.”

Police said the student had been studying for a test to become a civil servant. The man fell toward the entrance of the apartment building and landed on the pedestrian.

The passerby has been identified as a civil servant at the Gokseong County Office’s public relations team who was in charge of writing press releases promoting a popular Korean movie named after the county, known in English as “The Wailing” (2016).

The victim, a Korea University graduate surnamed Yang, was returning home that day after working a late-night shift writing newsletters about the movie. The film, parts of which were filmed in Gokseong, is a thriller about a police officer investigating serial killings. It was screened at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in southern France this year and will soon screen in the United States.

Yang had worked as a civil servant since 2008, first at a local government office in Gyeonggi before moving to the Gokseong County Office in 2012, where his in-laws lived. In 2014, he was awarded by the Gokseong County chief for his administrative achievements, and late last year, he received an award from the South Jeolla governor for his hard work in promoting Gokseong through the movie.

“We’re speechless,” said Yang’s colleague at the county office, who requested anonymity. “He really loved Gokseong more than anyone else, and we’re all shocked by his unexpected death.

“He played a key role in promoting Gokseong after the movie was out.”

BY KIM HO, LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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