Queens man kills family and self, sets apartment on fire

September 10, 2014
The New York Police Department reveals details of the case outside the Flushing apartment Tuesday. (Jo Jin-woo/The Korea Times)

The New York Police Department reveals details of the case outside the Flushing apartment Tuesday. (Jo Jin-woo/The Korea Times)

A Queens man killed his wife and son before setting their apartment on fire and slashing his own throat Tuesday, the New York Police Department said.

The fire broke out around 4:50 a.m. Tuesday at a Flushing apartment located on Roosevelt Avenue, NYPD said. Inside the living room, firefighters discovered the bodies of Lee Jong-hoon, 50, his wife, Lee Sung-hae, 54, and their son, Brian Lee (Korean name Lee Hyun-bin), 16.

Lee Sung-hae and son Brian Lee.

Lee Sung-hae and son Brian Lee.

Police, who found a bloody knife at the scene, said all three bodies had stab wounds.

Firefighters contained the fire by 5:30 a.m.

Lee Jong-hoon left behind a note, found in his pocket, to a relative.

Writing in Korean, he told the relative he was suffering from severe financial problems, including debt, and that he couldn’t kill just himself because his wife and son would have to deal with his problems if they were to live.

Lee Jong-hoon was a truck driver, while his wife worked at a nail salon. Their son was a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School.

According to close family friends, he and his mother went clothes shopping Monday for the new school year.

In 2005, Lee Jong-hoon filed for personal bankruptcy due to about $100,000 in debt and struggled financially ever since, sources said. In 2011, he filed a lawsuit but lost in court after a car accident, receiving no compensation. In addition, his wife was suffering from recent health problems.

“The husband never attended church, but his wife and son attended regularly for 10 years,” said Kim Hyung-seok, pastor of New Creation Presbyterian Church. He said the church community is shocked.

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