Church stabbing suspect didn't seem violent beforehand

AP News
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Posted: Jul 30, 2015 12:56 PM
Church stabbing suspect didn't seem violent beforehand

URBANA, Md. (AP) — The suspect in a fatal stabbing at a rural Maryland religious retreat behaved oddly but didn't seem violent or seriously mentally ill in the days before the attack, a board member says.

Song Su Kim, 30, a homeless man from Falls Church, Virginia, had been staying in a cabin at the center, said Eunsook Baihly of Anna Prayer Counseling Inc.

She told The Frederick News-Post (http://bit.ly/1JxPV5e) Wednesday that Kim's mother had dropped Kim off at the Christian retreat near Urbana five days before the stabbing Sunday. The retreat offers "prayer counseling" — mainly prayer and worship — but not professional mental health counseling.

"That young man didn't show much signs of illness. He was a little strange, but we had no idea how sick he was," Baihly said.

The property's on-site pastor, Sangman Lee, said there had been no fighting between Kim and victim Chung Hwan Park before the attack.

Park's wife Ae Suk Ko is recovering from stab wounds she received trying to protect her husband. The South Korean couple had been visiting the complex since early July, Lee said.

Kim, a Korean-American, is charged with first-degree murder and other offenses. He told police he attacked Park with a kitchen knife during an evening service because he had been treated badly and wanted to "invade a Korean."

Kim's public defender didn't immediately return a call Thursday from The Associated Press.

Police say Kim had called 911 Saturday to complain about the food at the center. Lee said Ko had cooked meals at the center, while Park had helped with maintenance of the complex.

Baihly said the faith community was shocked by the incident.

"It is the saddest thing I have ever experienced," she said.