4 dead after another shooting spree in S. Korea

February 27, 2015
Police officials inspect the site of a shooting spree in Hwaseong, a city just south of Seoul, on Feb. 27, 2015. (Yonhap)

Police officials inspect the site of a shooting spree in Hwaseong, a city just south of Seoul, on Feb. 27, 2015. (Yonhap)

HWASEONG, South Korea (Yonhap) — Three people were dead on Friday after a gunman armed with a hunting rifle opened fire inside a home in this city south of Seoul before killing himself, authorities said.

Police said they received a phone call around 9:30 a.m., saying a man had shot his brother and sister-in-law in a two-story residence in the Hwaseong district of Namyang.

Inside were the bodies of a 75-year-old surnamed Jeon, his older brother, his sister-in-law and the head of a local police substation, authorities said.

A witness who refused to be identified said Jeon and his sister-in-law were arguing outside before he followed her into the house. Two gunshots were heard just minutes later.

A woman who appeared to be the couple’s daughter-in-law jumped off the second floor and begged the witness to call the police.

When the head of a local police substation arrived at the scene, Jeon refused to surrender and warned the officer against entering.

The police officer continued to force himself in and was shot dead. He was not wearing a bulletproof vest and was only armed with a taser, a police official who was with him said.

Jeon committed suicide shortly thereafter.

The daughter-in-law sustained a minor injury on her back and was being treated at a hospital.

Police said Jeon often got drunk and demanded money from his brother, according to his neighbors.

He took out a hunting rifle from a police station an hour before the shooting and told the officers he would return after he finishes hunting the next day.

Police officers said they did not notice anything suspicious about the man despite his old age and frequent visits to the substation to take out guns.

The incident came two days after another gunman killed three people in the central city of Sejong before turning the gun on himself.

Civilians are rarely armed with guns in South Korea. Only those with genuine reasons are allowed to own one, and it must be stored at police substations.

Shooting incidents in South Korea, which are rare, have commonly involved military personnel, as all able-bodied men in South Korea are trained how to use guns during their mandatory military service.

The National Police Agency said it will toughen the law governing gun control following the two incidents that shortly followed one another.

Officials said they will likely limit the number of police substations from which licensed gun owners can take out guns. They also plan to require owners to renew their license every three years instead of five years.