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Koreatown couple takes down would-be robber

October 11, 2010 12:47:00 AM PDT
An armed man picked the wrong couple to attempt to rob in Los Angeles' Koreatown early Monday morning. They refused to be victims and took the suspect down.Police usually say that robbery victims should not fight back, but in this case, the couple was able to stop the suspect.

Authorities said the suspect, 25-year-old Kim Chang, armed with a gun, got into the apartment building on the 700 block of South Kingsley Drive at about 2:30 a.m. and encountered a woman in her 20s in the hallway. He followed her to her apartment and demanded money at gunpoint. She gave him her wallet, but he wanted more. He forced her into her apartment.

"She went inside, placed her in the bathroom, told her don't make a sound. She did exactly what we would hope our victims would do and began screaming, woke up her boyfriend and her boyfriend and the suspect began struggling. There was a pretty big fight between the two of them. Her screams awakened him. He immediately responded," said LAPD Sgt. Mitzi Grasso.

While the boyfriend fought with Chang, the woman called 911.

"She was screaming for help, telling the dispatch that there was an intruder with a gun, and that her boyfriend was fighting the intruder," said LAPD Det. Luis Corona.

Police said the woman's boyfriend fought with the suspect to disarm him, not knowing that the gun was empty. The struggle continued until the woman grabbed her own weapon - a set of golf clubs.

"She struck him multiple times," Corona said.

The suspect tried to flee, but the boyfriend chased him downstairs, where the fight continued. When officers arrived, they put the boyfriend in handcuffs initially, not knowing he was the victim.

If the gun had been loaded, the outcome would have been very different, police said. But the boyfriend made a decision to fight the intruder.

"He just reacted, you know? He just did what he had to do," Corona said. "It's an amazing story. I'm just happy that everybody is still alive."

Police said the victims were shaken by the incident, but they were not seriously hurt. The suspect was taken to a local hospital for head injuries, but he was expected to survive.

At one point during the altercation, the couple asked the suspect why he was doing this, to which he was responded that he needed money.

"I think they're very fortunate to have this kind of outcome," said Grasso. "Anytime somebody confronts an armed suspect, they're really placing their lives in danger."

Police say the two victims are still quite shaken. Fortunately their injuries are minor. As for Kim Chang, he suffered serious head injuries, but is expected to recover. He now faces charges of attempted robbery and home invasion.

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