Jinju Police Chief has apologized for the agency's role in an apartment arson and murder case.
Lee Hee-seok, the chief of the Jinju Police Station, visited the joint ministry on the 20th, after the families of the victims of the arson and murder cases in Jinju, South Gyeongnam Province demanded an official apology from the state agency.
"I express my sincere condolences to the families and victims of the accident and I will take responsibility for our failure to prevent it, "he said at the joint memorial altar for the victims at the Korea-Japan Hospital in Jinju at 12:50pm.
In an earlier statement released on Wednesday 19th, the bereaved family demanded a formal apology from the state agency and announced that they would temporarily postpone the funeral schedule.
Meanwhile, families of the bereaved and other officials from South Gyeongnam Province, Jinju, the prosecution, and the police held talks from 2:00pm on the issue of providing support for the medical treatment fees but they fell apart due to differences.
***[WARNING: Graphic descriptions of the mass murder & arson]***
On March 17th, Ahn In-deuk (42) turned conspicuously volatile and committed mass murder and arson at an apartment complex in Jinju where he had moved into about 3 years before.
In a span of a year, after he moved into the complex in December 2015, neighbors called the police over 5 times about his weird behavior but neighbors said the police ignored their complaints. A neighbor under anonymity said, "Most people here knew he had some sort of mental problem, but the police wouldn't do anything about it even if we reported complaints to them. Everyone was like, "somebody will have to get killed for the police to be mobilized."
The neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity under fear for his own safety told the JoongAng Ilbo that he was responsible for one of the calls to the police about Ahn. His recent complaint was on March 8th when he caught Mr. Ahn staring at him. Ahn cursed at him and then followed him into the apartment building. The call to the police had no impact and 40 days later, Ahn poured gasoline all over the living room of his 4th floor apartment, set fire to a piece of news paper and hurled it on the flammable liquid at around 4:30 am on Wednesday on the 17th. Ahn then walked down to the 2nd floor and stood in front of an elevator stabbing neighbors that were escaping down the staircase. 5 people were killed and 6 sustained multiple injuries. 9 others are still receiving medical treatment for smoke inhalation.
Jinju Police said that Ahn was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 2010 and received treatment for the mental disorder at a Jinju psychiatric hospital until July 2016 but didn't seek medical attention since.
Officers at the Gyeongnam Provincial Police Agency said Friday that Ahn is currently going through a psychiatric test. He has told police and the local press that he committed the crime “out of anger” because he had been “disadvantaged” by the Jinju city government, society and a former employer, without detailing how.
Families of the neighbors killed by Ahn called on police authorities Friday to issue an official apology for failing to heed the warning signs and threatened to delay the funerals until the Jinju police chief or national police chief admit their wrongdoings.
As for Ahn, he won’t be allowed to wear a facial mask in front of media cameras now since police decided to show his face to the public. Under domestic law, a suspect of a specific violent crime can be forced to have his or her face and personal information publicly unveiled if the crime was committed in a cruel way; when sufficient evidence exists to prove that the criminal suspect has committed such crime; and when the disclosure should be required for the public good.
Additional source: JoongAng Ilbo