Korean, 75, Says He Killed Dallas Neighbors in Self-Defense

An elderly Korean man who shot to death two of his upstairs neighbors claimed he was acting in self-defense during a jailhouse interview with a local TV reporter.

The arrest warrant alleges a very different account which appears to have been interpolated from physical evidence as there appear to be no living eye witnesses other than Chung Kim, the 75-year-old Korean American who was living below the victims in the Sable Ridge Condominium complex in Dallas.

Kim went into a rage that Michelle Jackson, 30, and Jamie Stafford, 31, had put dog feces near his front door, alleges the arrest warrant. He shot Jackson as she stood on her balcony just above the patio of his own apartment. Then Kim climbed the stairs and shot at Stafford who was trying to escape through the back patio door.

Stafford jumped to the ground from the apartment, the warrant continues. Kim stood over Stafford as he lay on the ground and fatally shot him.

Kim flatly denied the version of events contained in the warrant during his interview with a reporter from Dallas’ News 8 Wednesday. He also denied killing Jackson. Instead, Kim says he opened his front door and found the feces. He shouted for Stafford to come down to his apartment.

“He said, ‘OK I come back,’’ Kim recounted. “When he come back, he bring a gun and point it at me… He pointed gun at my head,” Kim continued.

Kim claimed that he drew on the martial arts training he had received in the Korean military to wrestle the gun away from Stafford who had carried it in a holster. Stafford had a holster in his left hand and the gun in his right. When he took the gun away, Stafford fled and dropped the holster, Kim continued.

“I know martial arts, and I know I’m going to die anyway. People die at 76 years old, but I don’t want someone to kill me. So I take his gun and kill him.”

The gun has been sent to by Dallas police to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for forensic testing. The results haven’t been received yet.

He “went to the blank” after shooting Stafford and doesn’t remember what happened afterwards, Kim said.

Kim also disputed reports of a long-running feud between himself and his two neighbors.

“That’s a lie; someone making lie because they are prejudiced,” Kim said of Stafford. “This guy was really prejudiced. I’m Korean; he talked to me in really bad language.”

Kim was arrested Monday after he had driven to a bank following the shooting.

Kim acknowledged having been admitted to Parkland Memorial Hospital for mental observation following a confrontation with the apartment manager in 2007. During that incident police confiscated a Taurus .357 revolver, six rounds of ammunition, and Kim’s Texas handgun license.

Kim is currently being held on $1 million bail. It was not known whether he had retained an attorney.

Stafford and Jackson had five children together. The youngest, an infant, had been in the apartment during the shooting but was unharmed. The other four, aged up to 10, were in school during Monday’s shootings.

While no other eye witnesses have come forward, several residents of the complex heard the gunshots.

“I just know I heard a whole bunch of gunshots at 8 a.m. I dove over my son to protect him,” said Michael Issa.

“I heard three [gunshots], then it stopped and I was about to rise up on the floor, and I heard five more and I got back on the floor,” said Yolanda Washington.

Neighbors reported seeing both bodies laying outside.

They said the feud, which had gone on for almost a year, involved a pit bull in the upstairs unit.

“From what I’m hearing now, they’ve had a lot of arguments over the pet dog, urinating on that balcony,” said one neighbor. “But as far as I know personally, I’ve never heard them argue or fight.”

Another problem was the noise within the complex, said residents. One said Kim had often complained to the condo management about the problems but became frustrated because he didn’t get the board’s cooperation in enforcing the rules and regulations.