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Charges filed in church retreat shooting

April 15, 2009 12:55:23 PM PDT
Prosecutors in Riverside County filed murder and attempted murder charges Wednesday against John Suchan Chong, the man authorities say confessed to a deadly shooting at a church retreat near Temecula.Investigators say 69-year-old Chong shot and killed a woman at the Kkottongnae Retreat Camp and wounded her husband before another couple disarmed him during a violent struggle on April 7.

Chong suffered severe head trauma in the fight. His arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday in Murrieta, was expected to be postponed because he was not likely to be medically cleared to attend.

When Riverside County Sheriff's investigators arrived at the camp, they said Chong was unconscious, and that when he came to, he confessed to the crimes.

"He believed that the victims were not treating him fairly, or at least that was his perception," Sgt. Michael Lujan told the Associated Press.

Chong and the two couples lived and worked at the camp as volunteers.

Lujan said Chong did not provide a more specific motive for the shooting, nor did he indicate a particular event that prompted the attack.

D.A. spokesman John Hall told the AP that relations had deteriorated recently between Chong and the first couple he attacked, Jong Pil Yun and his wife Chuneui Yun, and that they had not seen Chong for several weeks.

When Chong turned up at their home that night, they invited him to dinner. Hall says Chong pulled a revolver and aimed it at Chuneui Yun. Her husband tried to swat it away but, according to Hall, Chong shot him in the chest then fatally shot Chuneui Yun in the head. Jong Pil Yun remains hospitalized.

Hall says Chong then went to the home of Joseph and Julianna Kim and fired one shot but did not hit either of them. Joseph Kim was able to knock the gun from Chong's hand, while Julianna Kim picked up the gun and ran to a neighbor's house, pleading for help. Joseph Kim reportedly beat Chong with a dumbbell, causing the head trauma.

Chong is being held on $1 million bail in a jail hospital.


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