Student at UM remains critical

Woman was shot by man who then shot himself

`It can happen anywhere'

April 27, 2003|By Jason Song and Stephanie Hanes | Jason Song and Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - A 20-year-old University of Maryland student was clinging to life last night, a day and a half after a George Washington University student shot her in the head and then shot himself with a semiautomatic handgun.

The shooter, 21-year-old Ki- Seong Kim, who was a student at George Washington University's School of Business and Public Management, died Friday afternoon from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Although police and university officials have declined to identify the woman, except to say that she was studying at College Park and living in Burtonsville, students said that she, like Kim, was Korean-American.

As news of the shooting spread throughout the two campuses yesterday, the fact that two Korean-Americans were involved shocked some Asian-American students almost as much as the crime itself.

"I've never heard of an incident here that involves two Asian people," said Aaron Choi, 18, a College Park freshman. "A lot of people I know are nervous. I don't know when I'll feel better, whether it will be days or months."

Police said they believe Kim and the woman shared a close relationship, but said they were investigating whether it was romantic in nature. Both were involved in Korean Christian organizations on their respective campuses, students said.

At George Washington University yesterday, prayer services were held for Kim and his family. On the Web site for the Korean Campus Ministry of College Park, a message was posted urging readers to remember their faith and pray for everyone touched by the shootings.

"I'm sure all of you have heard what happened," it said. "Let's all pray for her, her family, her church and everyone involved in this. I'm 100 percent sure that God has a purpose in this as well. As his children, let's all continue to pray for her."

A chat discussion in Korean on the Web site discussed the woman's condition, which last night was listed as critical at Washington Hospital Center.

Police said Kim shot the woman about 12:45 p.m. Friday as she sat in her white Honda Civic on the third floor of the five-level garage near the university's Comcast Center, on the northeastern edge of campus. They said Kim had blocked her car in with his black Volkswagen Jetta, and then got out of his car to talk with her.

After a short discussion, police said, Kim fired the two shots.

Wing Lo, 21, said he often rides his bike near the garage.

"If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere," said the computer science major from Baltimore.

The shootings were the most recent incidents of death and violence associated with the Maryland university system's flagship campus.

In November, sophomore Brandon Malstrom died after being stabbed after an off-campus party. In spring of last year, a freshman died after excessive drinking at a fraternity event. And in the fall of 2001, another fraternity member was found dead on his fraternity's porch, a death later linked to the party drug GHB.

Although students said that they were unsettled by Friday's shootings, yesterday's annual Maryland Day festivities made the College Park campus look normal, even festive.

And in the Comcast Center garage, nothing hinted at Friday's crime.

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