Fatal arson attacker showed signs of schizophrenia

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Fatal arson attacker showed signs of schizophrenia

The main suspect in the killing and arson spree at an apartment building in Jinju is escorted into a police station in the South Gyeongsang Province city, Wednesday. Yonhap

A window in the apartment was blackened in the fire that took 20 minutes to extinguish. Yonhap

By Oh Young-jin

The suspect in an early morning arson and killing spree Wednesday exhibited signs of schizophrenia, claiming his fatal attack was in self-defense against "forces that threatened me," police said at a briefing later in the day. He reportedly had a history of mental illness.

Five people were killed and 13 injured in the arson and stabbing attack at an apartment complex in Jinju.

Police said that four of the dead were women including a 12-year-old girl and her grandmother. A blind high school senior was also a victim. Some of the injured were listed in a critical condition so the death toll could rise. Seven others were victims of smoke inhalation.

The suspect, identified by his surname An, 42, was apprehended at the scene.

The arson and murder suspect, identified as An, being escorted by police officers. Yonhap

"The suspect kept changing his story and it didn't make any sense," a spokesman for Jinju, South Gyeongsang Provincial Police Agency told reporters. "He admitted to the arson and killing but refused to disclose what motivated his killing."

An sprayed gasoline in his living room and set it alight at 4:25 a.m., police said. He then shouted "fire," flushing people out of their apartments and ambushing them on the emergency stairs with two "lethal tools," a police term for knives. Officers confronted him in the hall and fired blank and live ammunition before subduing him with a Taser.

An had initially told police he was angry over back pay. But police said it was confirmed he was working as a day laborer and was not owed wages.

The murder suspect is caught on CCTV throwing liquid on the door of an upstairs neighbor he had quarreled with earlier. Yonhap

An is said to be on government support for the underprivileged. He has been living alone in the apartment since 2015.

He is being questioned about the motive for his alleged rampage. Two police experts in crime profiling have been assigned to the case with 30 investigators.

Police said An had at least five run-ins with neighbors. He was once caught on CCTV spraying soy sauce and vinegar on the door of people living upstairs over noise complaints.

Some local media outlets reported that An had uploaded a posting on a portal site in 2013 that showed his resentment of children.

The Jinju police give a briefing on a deadly arson and stabbing attack. Yonhap
The main suspect in the killing and arson spree at an apartment building in Jinju is escorted into a police station in the South Gyeongsang Province city, Wednesday. Yonhap

A window in the apartment was blackened in the fire that took 20 minutes to extinguish. Yonhap

By Oh Young-jin

The suspect in an early morning arson and killing spree Wednesday exhibited signs of schizophrenia, claiming his fatal attack was in self-defense against "forces that threatened me," police said at a briefing later in the day. He reportedly had a history of mental illness.

Five people were killed and 13 injured in the arson and stabbing attack at an apartment complex in Jinju.

Police said that four of the dead were women including a 12-year-old girl and her grandmother. A blind high school senior was also a victim. Some of the injured were listed in a critical condition so the death toll could rise. Seven others were victims of smoke inhalation.

The suspect, identified by his surname An, 42, was apprehended at the scene.

The arson and murder suspect, identified as An, being escorted by police officers. Yonhap

"The suspect kept changing his story and it didn't make any sense," a spokesman for Jinju, South Gyeongsang Provincial Police Agency told reporters. "He admitted to the arson and killing but refused to disclose what motivated his killing."

An sprayed gasoline in his living room and set it alight at 4:25 a.m., police said. He then shouted "fire," flushing people out of their apartments and ambushing them on the emergency stairs with two "lethal tools," a police term for knives. Officers confronted him in the hall and fired blank and live ammunition before subduing him with a Taser.

An had initially told police he was angry over back pay. But police said it was confirmed he was working as a day laborer and was not owed wages.

The murder suspect is caught on CCTV throwing liquid on the door of an upstairs neighbor he had quarreled with earlier. Yonhap

An is said to be on government support for the underprivileged. He has been living alone in the apartment since 2015.

He is being questioned about the motive for his alleged rampage. Two police experts in crime profiling have been assigned to the case with 30 investigators.

Police said An had at least five run-ins with neighbors. He was once caught on CCTV spraying soy sauce and vinegar on the door of people living upstairs over noise complaints.

Some local media outlets reported that An had uploaded a posting on a portal site in 2013 that showed his resentment of children.

The Jinju police give a briefing on a deadly arson and stabbing attack. Yonhap
Oh Young-jin foolsdie5@koreatimes.co.kr


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