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Woo Bum-kon
Woo Bum-kon
Background information
Occupation Police officer
Born February 24, 1955
Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
Died

April 27, 1982(1982-04-27) (aged 27)
Uiryeong, South Korea

Cause of death Suicide
Attack information
Date April 26 – 27, 1982
c. 9:30 p.m. – 3:40 a.m.
Location(s) Uiryeong, South Korea
Killed 57 (including himself)
Injured 35
Weapon(s) Two M2 carbines
Seven hand grenades

Woo Bum-kon (Korean: 우범곤/禹範坤) was a South Korean police officer who killed 56 people and wounded 35 others in several villages in Uiryeong County, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea, during the night from April 26 to April 27, 1982, before committing suicide.[1]

His rampage remained the deadliest known mass murder committed by a lone gunman in modern history until July 22, 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik killed 75 people in Oslo and Utøya, Norway.[2]

Background Edit

Woo had served in the South Korean Marines until 1978. In December 1980 he was hired by the National Police in Pusan and settled in the village of Torongni in December 1981, after being transferred to the local police station in Kungyu.[3][4]

MurdersEdit

Woo had an argument with his live-in girlfriend, Chun Mal-soon (전말순), on the afternoon of April 26, 1982, after she had woken him by swatting a fly on his chest. Enraged, he left the house and went to the police station, where he reported for duty at 4:00 p.m. According to early reports, he began drinking heavily, though eyewitnesses later stated that Woo did not appear drunk during his rampage, and according to local officials, he would have been not able to cover 4 km. of difficult, rocky terrain while intoxicated.

At about 7:30 p.m., Woo returned home, punched and kicked his girlfriend and smashed the furniture, before making his way to the reservists armory and gathered an arsenal consisting of two M2 carbines, 144 or 180 rounds of ammunition, and seven hand grenades. Some reports stated that the other officers were at a meeting, and he therefore managed to grab the weapons unnoticed,[5] though others mentioned that he had intimidated the guards to gain access.

Kungryu and TorongniEdit

At approximately 9:30 p.m., Woo shot his first victim, 26-year old Son Jin-tae (손진태), who was standing outside the police station in Kungryu (궁류). He then entered the local post office, where he killed three phone operators and cut off the telephone lines to prevent others from calling emergency services. He next went to Torongni, where he threw a grenade and shot at passers-by in the marketplace, killing six people. He also wounded Chun Mal-soon, who had gone to investigate after hearing shots in the village. From that point on, he proceeded from village to village, taking advantage of his position as a police officer to gain entry to the houses and shoot their inhabitants.

UngyeEdit

At 10:30 p.m., Woo took 18-year-old Kim Ju-dong (김주동) hostage and moved to Ungye-Ri (운계리), where he ordered the boy to get him a soft drink from a grocery store owned by 52-year-old Shin We-do (신외도). After getting what he had asked for, Woo killed the boy and then attacked the store owner and his family. Shin We-do managed to escape after being shot in the leg, though his wife Son Won-jeom (손원점) and his daughters Chang-sun (창순) and Su-jeong (수정) were killed.[6] Woo continued his shooting at the market-place, killing a total of 18 people in that village, before making his way towards Pyongchon-Ni (평촌리).

PyongchonEdit

At Pyongchon-Ni, he shot a family of four in their beds and then went to a house, where a wake was in progress. When the owner of the house saw the armed policeman and asked what had happened, Woo explained that there was an alert as North Korean agents had been spotted. The man invited Woo into the house for dinner, during which the latter complained about his small salary and his transfer from Pusan to the countryside. Woo eventually began shooting at the guests after one of them had remarked that his ammunition didn't look real. He killed twelve people in the house and a further eight in the streets, thus leaving a total of 24 people dead in Pyongchon.

Although police were alerted within minutes of the first shots being fired, it took them an hour to gather a team of 37 officers to search for the gunman, and the national police headquarters in Seoul were not informed until 1:40 a.m.[7] Around that time, just 2.5 miles from the police station in Kungryu, Woo found refuge in a farmhouse belonging to 68-year-old Suh In-Su (서인수), whom he told that he was chasing a Communist infiltrator, and that the family should gather in the main room of the house so he could protect them. When the family gathered at his request, he held them hostage.

Two hours later, police eventually caught up with him, and as forces closed in, Woo detonated two grenades, killing himself and three of his hostages. Mr. Suh himself survived gravely injured.[8] Four rounds of ammunition and one hand grenade were recovered by police from inside the farmhouse.[6]

When the rampage finally ended, 55 people and Woo himself were dead, while 36 others were wounded, six of them seriously. One of the injured, a child who had been shot, died on May 8, bringing the number of people killed by the gunman to 56. At that time, 34 people were still being treated in hospitals in Jinju and Masan.[9]

Chun Mal-soon later said that her boyfriend "suffered from an inferiority complex and had been bothered by villagers' comments on their living together unmarried". Later on, the provincial chief of police was suspended, and four other officers were arrested for negligence of duty.[3][10]

Victims Edit

Killed in Togok were:

  • Jeon Un-suk (전은숙), 23, female
  • Son Jin-tae (손진태), 28

Killed in Apgok were:

  • Choi Bun-lee (최분이), 71, female
  • Jeon Jong-jeong (전종정), 36
  • Baek Jeom-ak (백점악), 36, wife of Jeon Jong-jeong
  • Kang Pan-im (강판임), 51, female
  • Lee Chun-su (이춘수), 50
  • Lee Pan-su (이판수), 50
  • Mun Sun-lee (문순이), 44, wife of Lee Pan-su
  • Son Jeong-hui (손정희), 50, female
  • Yu Baek-am (유백암), 59, female

Killed in Ungye were:

  • Jeon Dal-bae (전달배), 18
  • Jeon Yong-gil (전용길), 37
  • Jin Il-im (진일임), 48, female
  • Jin Pil-li (진필리), 19, female
  • Kim Ju-dong (김주동), 18
  • Kim Wol-sun (김월순), 28, female
  • Park In-gil (박인길), 42
  • Choi Jeong-nyeo (최정녀), 40, wife of Park In-gil
  • Park Kyung-suk (박경숙), 19, daughter of Park In-gil
  • Park Jae-cheol (박재철), 14, son of Park In-gil
  • Park Hyeon-suk (박현숙), 8, daughter of Park In-gil
  • Park Gab-jeo (박갑저), 38, female
  • Park Mi-hae (박미해), 14, female
  • Park Myeong-lyeon (박명련), 32, female
  • Seol Sun-jeom (설순점), 49, female
  • Yu Sun-ja (유순자), 19, daughter of Seol Sun-jeom
  • Sin Chang-sun (신창순), 13, female
  • Sin Kyung-lyeon (신경련), 43, female
  • Yu Jeom-sun (유점순), 19, female, daughter of Lee (이) (maybe Sin Kyung-lyeon was meant)
  • Son Won-jeom (손원점), 51, female
  • Shin Chang-sun (신창순), 13, daughter of Son Won-jeom
  • Shin Su-jeong (신수정), 9, daughter of Son Won-jeom

Killed in Pyongchon were:

  • Choi Kyung-jak (최경작), 43, female
  • Seo Eum-seok (서음석), 20, son of Choi Gyeong-jak
  • Ham So-nam (함소남), 51, female
  • Han Myeong-gyu (한명규), 53
  • Jeon Bok-sun (전복순), 63, female
  • Jo Eul-sun (조을순), 56, female
  • Kwak Ki-dal (곽기달), 43
  • Park Sun-deok (박순덕), 41, wife of Kwak Ki-dal
  • Kwak Ju-il (곽주일), 14, son of Kwak Ki-dal
  • Lee Ta-sun (이타순), 46, female
  • Lee Sun-du (이순두), 46, female
  • Mun Byeong-hyeong (문병형), 8
  • Mun Se-jeong (문세정), 2, female
  • Park Bong-sun (박봉순), 41, female
  • Park Jong-deok (박종덕), 43
  • Seo Hyeong-su (서형수), 27
  • Seo Jeong-su (서정수), 22, brother of Seo Hyeong-su

Killed in other places were:

  • Ha Gyeong-jae (하경재), 5
  • Heo Lee-jung (허이중), 23
  • Jo Gwi-nam (조귀남), 54
  • Jo Myeong-lyul (조명률), 59
  • Jo Yong-deok (조용덕), 46
  • Yu Lyang (유량), l, female

Reportedly also killed were:

  • Jeon Jin-seok (전진석), 36
  • Jeon In-bae (전인배)

Among those wounded were:

  • Heo Cha-seo (허차서), 34
  • Heo Cha-seok (허차석), 53
  • Heo Jun-seo (허준서), 45
  • Jeon Mal-sun (전말순), 26, Woo's girlfriend
  • Jeong Gab-cheon (정갑천), 44
  • Jeong In-bong (정인봉), 41
  • Jo Bok-sim (조복심), 50
  • Jo Pil-sun (조필순), 51
  • Mun Byeong-seok (문병석), 1
  • Mun Gyeong-bun (문경분), 18
  • Mun Gyeong-lee (문경이), 11
  • Mun Gyeong-suk (문경숙), 25
  • Mun Hwa-sun (문화순), 29
  • Mun Mun-dal (문문달), 35
  • Mun Sang-deok (문상덕), 46
  • Seo In-Su (서인수), 68
  • Seo Seong-hwa (서성화), 24
  • Seo Yeon-ho (서연호), 26
  • Shin We-do (신외도), 52
  • Yeo Suk-yeon (여숙연)

Aftermath Edit

The Interior Minister of South Korea, Suh Chung-hwa and the national police chief, An Eung-mo, offered to resign as a form of atonement for Woo's rampage.[3] Suh Chung-hwa, being held responsible for the incident by president Chun Doo-hwan, laid his office down on April 29, and Roh Tae-woo was appointed Interior Minister.[1][7]

A special parliamentary team was formed, consisting of 19 parliamentarians and led by Home Affairs Committee chairman Kim Chong-hoh, to investigate the shooting and its disastrous handling by the police.[7] Furthermore the South Korean Cabinet decided to pay compensations to the victims and their families.[11]

References Edit

External links Edit

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