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1 dead in Catholic retreat shooting

April 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities are trying to figure out why a man went on a deadly shooting spree at a Korean Catholic retreat in Riverside County, killing one person on Tuesday.Three people were also injured in the shooting, including the gunman.

Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Mitchell Alm says the gunman is 69-year-old John Chong, a volunteer who lives at the Kkottongnae Retreat Camp in Temecula.

Chong allegedly opened fire inside Kkottongnae Retreat camp off Highway 79 in Temecula around 7 p.m., shooting two people inside an RV. A woman died at the scene, and a man was critically injured.

Initial reports showed that Chong had targeted his wife, but that information has yet to be confirmed.

"We feel pretty confident right now we do not have an outstanding suspect," said Dennis Gutierrez from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

After the first shooting, Chong allegedly went to another RV unit, where he got into a fight with a two people, but they were able to attack and injure him.

The man shot in the first RV and the two people in the second attack were taken to a local hospital. The gunman was also taken to a local hospital, where he is reportedly unconscious.

"We're still trying to sort out what happened. There is a bit of a language barrier," Gutierrez said.

The remote retreat had been used for summer camps until recently, when the campground was bought by a Korean Roman Catholic church.

Residents at the retreat were allowed to return to their living quarters late Tuesday night.

In a statement, Bishop Gerald Barnes, the Bishop of San Bernardino said,"I am deeply saddened by the shootings that took place Tuesday evening at the Khottongnae Retreat Camp. I ask all to join me in prayer for the victims of this tragic act ... and for the sisters who run the retreat camp."

Authorities have no information on the motive for the violence.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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