Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Wave of killings claims six lives in Alabama, California


A gunman shot dead his wife, daughter and two other people before killing himself in Alabama, while a resident of a Korean religious retreat in California killed one and wounded another in the latest series of murders that have shocked the US.

The body of Kevin Garner, 45, was found on Tuesday near the home he formerly shared with his estranged wife in Morgan County, Alabama.

Law enforcement agents said Garner had earlier gunned down his wife, his daughter, a sister and her nephew in the town of Greenhill, reports said.

The killings came ahead of a divorce hearing between Garner and his wife Tammy due to take place on Wednesday.

Garner’s sister had been due to testify on behalf of his estranged wife at the hearing, the Times Daily newspaper reported on its Web site.

In Temecula, California, police said John Chong, 69, shot one woman dead on Tuesday night and wounded her husband before being disarmed during a struggle with another couple.

Chong had lived at the Kkottongnae Retreat Camp, which helps the homeless, for about a year as a volunteer after moving from the Los Angeles suburb of Lynwood.

The two couples attacked were also resident volunteers.

Detectives, having trouble piecing together what happened because many witnesses speak only Korean, were unable to immediately determine a motive.

“We have no evidence that this was a domestic dispute. We do not have a motive or reason for this incident,” sheriff’s Sergeant Michael Lujan said on Wednesday.

The camp, about 136km southeast of Los Angeles, is marked by a simple white sign along a two-lane road that winds through the hills of the Temecula wine country. The retreat, which provides food and aid to the homeless, is run by Korean nuns.

Chong is a retired professional welder who did maintenance at the retreat and was always welding, building walls, digging holes and pouring concrete, said Chuck Owens, 69, who lives nearby and saw him Tuesday.

“He came up and he seemed normal,” Owens said. “He came up for a while and we sat around for a while. I noticed nothing.”

Chong is unmarried and has no children, he said.

Also See: Americans struggle to understand mass shootings

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