Man goes on shooting spree in Seoul with homemade gun, kills policeman

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Man goes on shooting spree in Seoul with homemade gun, kills policeman

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An ex-convict went on a shooting spree in northern Seoul’s Gangbuk District Wednesday night using a gun he manufactured himself, fatally shooting a police officer before he was apprehended.

The ex-convict was wearing a type of bullet-proof vest and helmet and had with him 16 more homemade guns, a bomb and seven knives.
The suspect, a 46-year-old surnamed Seong, was wearing an electronic tracking device on his ankle when he started attacking people near Opaesan Tunnel in Beon-dong. He had a record of prison sentences for sexual assaults.

Seong allegedly shot a passerby with a homemade gun and missed him, although another passerby was hit. Seong then bludgeoned the first passerby with a hammer. Both passersby are hospitalized but their lives are not in danger.

The Gangbuk Police Precinct received a call saying a person was attacked and dispatched Lieutenant Kim Chang-ho and his partner to the scene. They arrived at 6:30 p.m. Backup arrived shortly later.

Seong was hiding among bushes. He had managed to remove his electronic monitoring device and discard it. He shot at Kim as he approached.

The bullet penetrated Kim’s left shoulder. He received CPR and was transported to a hospital but was pronounced dead around 7:40 p.m. According to the hospital staff, the bullet critically damaged his lungs.

After Kim was hit, police officers shot at Seong with one blank and three live bullets. Seong was wearing a bullet-proof vest used in BB-gun games, commonly called survival games in Korea and Japan, and a helmet. The bullets hit him but did not penetrate the vest.
Seong was arrested after a short scuffle with the officers and a civilian who assisted in his capture.

Seong may have been planning to attack police officers for days. At the time of his arrest, Seong had in his backpack and placed near him 17 homemade guns, a handmade bomb and seven knives, according to police.

The guns were fairly primitive: metal pipes were attached to wooden blocks, with one end blocked with a gunpowder-like material and a wick. When they are lighted, metal balls shoot out.

“I will be in a conflict with police in the next two to three days,” Seong wrote on his Facebook page on Oct. 11. “My goal is to kill one more police officer before I die.”

In his posts, Seong mentioned several recent sensational murder cases, including one in which the remains of a boy were found in his parent’s freezer. He wrote, “Police will try to charge me falsely with murder by putting a corpse in my room.”

Seong was sentenced to two years and six months in prison in 2001 for sexual assault, and was sentenced again to five years in prison in 2003 when he sexually assaulted a youth. His sentence was extended two years for defamation, false accusation and armed assault. After his release, he was issued an electronic anklet bracelet in 2014.

“Seong showed signs of megalomania,” said a Ministry of Justice official who managed Seong after his release. “He was quite antagonistic toward prison officers and police.”

“We don’t know if he had a mental problem,” said Seong’s cousin. “But he was jobless and isolated from his family. We were always worried about him.

Lieutenant Kim’s family was at a loss at the news of his death, according to police. Kim had served in the force from 1989, and was six years away from retirement. Last year he was awarded a commendation from the prime minister for 27 years of model service to the country. His 22-year-old son followed his father into the police, and is an officer at the Dobong Police Precinct in Seoul.


BY YUN JUNG-MIN, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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