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Police: Victims Related in Ga. Spa Shooting

NORCROSS, Ga. --

A gunman who was asked to leave a Korean health spa in an Atlanta suburb earlier in the day came back and shot two of his sisters and their husbands and then killed himself, police said Wednesday.

Surveillance video showed the man walking into the Su Jung Health Sauna on Tuesday night and getting into an argument with someone, then opening fire, police said. Four people were found dead inside, and another was taken to a hospital before being pronounced dead, investigators said.

The shootings happened about 8:30 p.m. in the salon area at the front of the building and investigators recovered a .45-caliber gun, police said. The shooter had earlier been asked to leave the spa because he was being disruptive, said Norcross police Capt. Brian Harr, though he didn't have details about what the man was doing. Police weren't called.

Investigators believe the person who asked him to leave was one of those shot to death later that night, Harr said.

Yellow police tape surrounded the large parking lot in front of the stand-alone brick building with decorative white columns and white Greek-style statuary. The spa is located on a busy highway lined with strip malls and small businesses, many with signs in Korean and English. It was closed Wednesday.

Investigators say they believe about 20 people were inside the spa when the gunfire began.

Police have turned to the Korean Consulate to help them in the effort to notify relatives of the dead, which is why the names had not been officially released, Harr said.

Investigators have heard various reasons for the dispute and were still trying to learn what led to the violence.

"We've heard there had been a dispute over money, but we've also heard it was over food," Harr said.

Sonny Lee, who owns Lee's Auto Center next door to the spa, said the owner had been in the community for about 15 years and had recently remodeled his business. Lee said the spa owner was very community-oriented.

"He donated a lot to the different things in the Korean community," Lee said.

Travis Kim, president of the Korean-American Association of Greater Atlanta, said he was a longtime friend of one of the victims and had worked with the man when Kim headed the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia.

"He had great people skills," Kim said. "He had a calm personality, so in various situations, he would give me a lot of ideas. When I was going through some rather difficult situations, he was there to give me advice and I'm grateful."

Su Jung is one of several day spas in Atlanta's northeast suburbs about 15 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, where there is a large Korean population, that bill themselves as modeled on traditional Korean bath houses. They offer a mix of saunas, massage therapy, beauty treatments and cafes with predominantly Korean food.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation joined the probe, GBI spokesman John Bankhead said.

"We actually sent two crime scene specialists, given the situation out there with the number of people who were shot and killed," Bankhead said.

He said investigators were using 3-D technology that was designed for architecture and construction jobs and is now being used in some investigations to recreate crime scenes.

 


Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 

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