Man on probation charged in killing

Store owner's death has others on guard in Cherry Hill


William R. Langley spent more than 20 years in prison after he sprayed gunfire into a crowded Cherry Hill gym, killing a man he targeted and wounding a teenage bystander.

Yesterday, Langley was charged with killing a carryout-shop owner in the same neighborhood, this time in an argument over an order for a steak sub, according to police and other sources.

"This was not an attempted robbery," said Maj. Richard C. Fahlteich, commander of the homicide unit. "This was an argument over something we hear was probably very trivial."

Nae Chun Pak, owner of Cherry Hill Carryout in South Baltimore, was shot once in the head Monday night. Police charging documents said the suspect became "boisterous" after placing an order at the restaurant. His money was returned, and he left the store, only to return a short time later to shoot Pak, the documents said.

A witness who saw the alleged gunman flee provided police with a vehicle license plate number, which they traced to the suspect. A second witness positively identified Langley as the shooter, police said.

Langley, 48, had been out of prison for less than year, according to the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. After pleading guilty to the shootings in 1977, he served 22 years in the state prison system. He was sent back to prison in 2001 for another unspecified charge and released on probation in November, 2004, a state official said.

"He had been compliant in adhering to the terms of his parole and probation officer," said Mark Vernarelli, a department spokesman. Langley was expected to be under supervision by the Division of Parole and Probation through next October, Vernarelli said.

Langley was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and assault and handgun violations in connection with the death of Pak, 46, charging documents show. Langley lived in Parkville.

Pak's killing, shortly before 7 p.m. on Monday, stunned some residents of Cherry Hill who described him as a generous and hard-working business owner. He was killed while working behind the counter.

His business is part of a larger building that includes a convenience store and a barbershop in the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road. Residents who live near the carry out said it was popular neighborhood hang out that served good fried chicken and sandwiches.

"He was funny, nice; he helped you out," said Tricey Edward, 27, a Cherry Hill resident while standing near Pak's shuttered store yesterday afternoon. "He would pay people a couple dollars to help him clean the parking lot. Everybody loved him..."

DaShawn Watts, 33, described Pak as one of the nice store owners in the neighborhood.

"He used to give free food out if you didn't have any money," Watts said. "He always looked out for us."

Judy Kim, 50, who works at a carryout shop across the street from Pak's business in the Cherry Hill Town Center, said she was surprised to hear that he had been killed. At one time, she had worked for Pak, and now with his violent death, shop owners are concerned about neighborhood safety.

"I've been here 10 years," Kim said. "We're careful, but I don't know ... . I just come here and work and go home."

Pak's slaying also stunned the region's community of Korean-American merchants, who met with city leaders yesterday to discuss the killing.

Pak had owned the Cherry Hill store for about six years, said friend Kap Park, who is president of the Korean American Grocer Association in Baltimore. Park said that city officials told him that the dispute in Pak's store began over an order for a steak sub.

"He worked six days a week, every day except Sunday," said Park, who met his friend a decade ago when they both volunteered with the association. "I'd call him a workaholic, but he also was a typical immigrant."

"He was shy and not an outspoken person," Park added. "He would never start an argument with a customer."

Pak, who served on the association's board in the 1990s, previously owned a small convenient store in Baltimore, but Park said his friend gave up the business because it wasn't earning enough money for him to afford to send his daughters to college.

"The (carryout) was very busy and gave him financial security for his children," he said.

Park said he wasn't sure how long Pak had lived in the United States, but he estimated that it was about 20 years. He lived in a two-story house on an affluent, suburban cul-de-sac in Clarksville with his twin 16-year-old daughters, 9-year-old son, wife and mother-in-law.

Pak apparently had served Langley on previous occasions, according to police. Langley had grown up in the Cherry Hill neighborhood, but he had been staying recently with his mother in Parkville, his daughter, Gaybrelle Langley, 27, said yesterday.

Langley said her mother was three months pregnant with her when her father went to prison. She said she remembers going to visit him at prisons in Hagerstown and the Eastern Shore.

Langley pleaded guilty in 1977 in the shootings of a man and a juvenile during a basketball game at St. Veronica's Social Hall in the 2900 block of Joseph Avenue in Cherry Hill. Robert Jackson Lee, 17, was wounded.

Langley pleaded guilty to killing Charles Davis, 26, and received a 20-year prison sentence. He received a concurrent 10-year term after his guilty plea for wounding Lee, according to news accounts of his sentencing.

Since his release last year, Langley was being supervised by the state Division of Parole and Probation. He had been compliant with the terms of his probation, a state corrections official said.

Sun reporters Nicole Fuller and Hanah Cho contributed to this article.

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