Manager charged with murder try after grocery store shooting incident

November 20, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

The manager of a corner grocery was charged early yesterday with attempted murder after being accused of shooting a man he suspected of shoplifting several cans of Spam at a Northwest Baltimore store.

Robert Chung, 60, was charged with attempted first-degree murder and a handgun violation in the incident at the Pennsylvania Supermarket in the Penn North neighborhood.

David Rich, 30, was shot while scuffling with an employee inside the store in the 2400 block of Pennsylvania Ave., police said. The incident occurred 6: 45 p.m. Wednesday.

Police spokeswoman Agent Angelique Cook-Hayes said police consulted with the city state's attorney's office, and agreed to charge Chung because they did not believe he was in immediate danger. Police said Rich was not armed.

Rich was treated for a gunshot wound to his left shoulder at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He was taken into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant unrelated to the shooting incident.

Chung, held without bail last night at the Central Booking and Intake Center, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Police said the incident began when three men tried to walk out of Chung's store with several cans of Spam without paying. Employees tried to stop them from leaving and scuffled with Rich.

Cook-Hayes said Chung called police to report a larceny, then emerged from a back room. She said one shot was fired from a .380 caliber handgun, hitting Rich. Police said a second round was fired at another man, but that bullet missed. The two other men escaped.

The police spokeswoman said four customers were inside the store at the time of the shooting. Cook-Hayes said investigators determined that the "firing of these rounds put the customers at an unreasonable risk of death or injury."

A dozen Korean grocers, city officials and residents testified in July in front of the Maryland committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and told of frustrations because of language barriers and lack of protection from city police.

The hearings were sparked by a series of attacks in 1997 involving Korean grocers that included two deaths.

Pub Date: 11/20/98

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