Update: Norcross Spa Shooting Leaves 5 Dead
Norcross PD reports a man entered the Su Jung Health Sauna and shot four family members before turning the gun on himself.
Updated 7:04 p.m., Wednesday
Five people were killed in what Norcross Police have confirmed as a domestic-related shooting at a Buford Highway spa Tuesday night.
Norcross Police Spokesman Capt. Brian Harr said in a press release at 1:49 p.m. Wednesday that the suspect shot his two sisters and their husbands around 8:40 p.m. inside Su Jung Health Sauna, located at 6005 Buford Highway. The suspect then shot himself.
Four of the family members were found dead inside when police responded. One victim died later at a local hospital.
Police have not yet released the names of the deceased.
In a press conference early Wednesday, Police Chief Warren Summers said the incident may be a "murder-suicide" and that the victims were targeted.
The shooter was a "frequent visitor" at the spa, he added.
Harr said the investigation indicated that the suspect was at the business earlier Tuesday when one of his sisters asked him to leave. The suspect returned to the spa at 8:40 p.m. He spoke briefly with one of his sisters, then shot the four family members and turned the gun on himself.
Their ages ranged from early 50s to mid-60s.
Surveillance cameras were able to show some scenes from the incident, said Summers. The press release says a .45 caliber handgun was recovered from the scene.
Summers said there were 20 or more people inside during the shooting. Police were interviewing witnesses Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
“We're continuing to investigate motive; why he came here and why he targeted the people he targeted,” Summers said.
Harr reported that police responded to a call of a person shot at the spa at 8:41 p.m.
Sonny Lee, owner of Lee's Auto Center next to the spa, said the suspect was one of his customers. He came into the shop for years for oil changes and service repair, but Lee admitted that he didn't know him well.
"He seemed to be a nice guy," said Lee. "I was kind of shocked that he would shoot his family members."
Wednesday morning, Lee said he spoke to the owner of a hair salon inside the spa who was present during the incident. He said that she believes the incident occurred because of financial issues that had been brewing for a long time.
When speaking to 11Alive News, the spa owner's pastor also said money problems may have been involved.
Pastor Paul Song Kim of Fire and the Light Korean Baptist Church in Lawrenceville said that the suspect's wife had subleased a space in the spa's hair salon area and that the business wasn't doing well. The shooter appeared when the family was holding a meeting concerning finances, Kim continued, which is when the suspect got into an argument with the owner and then started firing.
Court documents identify the spa owner as Kang Byong Ok, according to 11Alive.
Regardless of the true motive, the news of the murder-suicide has startled the city of Norcross.
"It's a family matter, but it's still a shock to our community," said Lee. We've never had anything happen like this before here. Everyone's talking about it."
"Five people killed in your town is just mind-boggling," said Mayor Bucky Johnson. "We're just so sorry for those who were killed and the families and the people who just happened to be there when it happened."
No other injuries were reported.
Check back with Norcross Patch for updates.