Family mourns slain man

Nae Chun Pak, 46, was shot Monday at his carryout restaurant

October 09, 2005|By NICOLE FULLER | NICOLE FULLER,SUN REPORTER

At the carryout he owned for about six years in South Baltimore, Nae Chun Pak served fried chicken and fish to legions of loyal customers. He made a good living, his friends said. So good that he wouldn't dream of leaving his store, a source of revenue that allowed for a comfortable life for him and his family in a Clarksville cul-de-sac.

But his dreams of watching his three children grow up ended Monday night, when Pak, 46, was shot once in the head while standing behind the counter of his carryout, in what police and witnesses said was a dispute with a customer over a sub sandwich.

A candlelight vigil is planned for the slain shop owner today at 4:30 p.m., outside of the store in the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road. The president of the Korean American Grocer Association of Baltimore, Kap Park, will address mourners, along with a representative from the NAACP and a contingent of church and community leaders from Cherry Hill, where Pak was popular with his customers.

At his funeral service Friday morning, near the bouquets of flowers surrounding the casket where Pak lay, a small bulletin board was crowded with dozens of photographs of the beaming family man:

Pak and his wife, Young Eun, on their wedding day.

Pak and his twin daughters, Ann and Jane, now 16, clad in bright orange vests, aboard a canoe.

Pak and his 9-year-old son James, just a baby then, hugging behind the counter of his old convenience store.

"The Pak Family Forever Will Be One Big Happy Family," read a banner accompanying the pictures.

That declaration though, was in stark contrast to the setting: an elegant, somber room at the Witzke Funeral Home in Columbia where Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church Pastor Young Ho Lee eulogized Pak.

It was a world away from Pak's carryout, where, according to police, William R. Langley, 48, of Parkville, returned to the carryout about 7 p.m., after arguing with Pak two hours earlier, and shot him. Langley has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, assault and handgun violations in connection with Pak's murder. In 1977, Langley pleaded guilty to shooting to death a man at a Cherry Hill recreation center. He served 22 years in prison for that crime.

Pak's family is bearing the brunt of the tragedy.

Inside the funeral service, where about 75 mourners gathered, only the sounds of muffled crying could be heard as Lee spoke in Korean.

The night before, at a memorial service, Pak's daughter Ann read an open letter to her father, family friend Sung Chun said.

"Ann made kind of a comment that since she's the first daughter of the family, she would take up the responsibility of the family," Chung said. "She basically repeated her affection for her father many, many times."

Lee attempted to comfort the children, departing from the Korean largely spoken at the service and saying in English, "Your dad is in heaven with father God. He is now enjoying the heavenly peace and happiness. ... The biggest wish for him is for you to grow strong. ... Your father is ... a great man."

As the service wound down, the cries of Pak's wife reverberated through the room. Many women wept at the sound.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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