SEOUL, Korea – A gunman shot and killed three people Wednesday in and around a South Korean convenience store that he then set on fire before fleeing, police said. He was later found dead with a gunshot wound to his head in an apparent suicide.
A shotgun was found on the 50-year-old gunman’s body about 4 kilometres from the store, located in Sejong City, Lee Ja-ha, head of the Sejong Police Agency, said in a televised briefing. Another shotgun was found in his vehicle, which was parked about 100 metres away from the body, he said.
The other dead were a father, 74, and son, 50, linked to the family that owned the store, and another man, 52, who’d been living with the elder man’s daughter, Lee said.
Sejong City is 120 kilometres south of Seoul, the capital, and is home to some of South Korea’s government agencies and ministries.
The daughter told police that she had lived with the gunman before breaking up about a year and a half ago. She had recently quarreled with him over financial matters, including the man’s claim that he had a financial stake in the store, Lee said.
The suspect shot the son as he sat in a car in front of the store and then entered a house next to the shop and shot the father, police said. In the store, the suspect then shot the other man before pouring paint thinner on the floor and setting the shop ablaze.
The gunman had gotten the shotguns from a police station in the nearby city of Gongju in the central part of South Korea about two hours before the morning shooting, Lee said.
South Koreans can obtain licenses for shotguns and rifles for the purpose of hunting animals, but they are required to keep the weapons at police stations and use them only during legal hunting periods. Lee said the suspect owned the shotguns and had proper licenses that he got last year.
Shooting incidents are rare in South Korea, which tightly controls gun possession, although there has been a spate of shooting deaths among soldiers. Every able-bodied South Korean man has to serve about two years in the military because of tensions with rival North Korea.