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UC Irvine Student Shot, Wounded in L.A.; Vietnamese Gang Blamed

Times Staff Writer

A UC Irvine student was shot four times and seriously wounded by suspected Vietnamese gang members who followed him from a Koreatown bar in Los Angeles early Sunday, authorities said.

Chang Lee, 28, was in serious condition late Sunday in an intensive-care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after 7 hours of surgery, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Family members were at his side, the spokeswoman said.

The motive for the shooting remains unclear, police said. But apparently Chang had witnessed or participated in a fight between rival Vietnamese and Korean gang members in the parking lot of the Tango Club at 6th Street and Manhattan Place, said Los Angeles Police Sgt. Gordon Sterling.

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“I’m sure there was a motive,” Sterling said. “Four shots is four shots. Someone does that for a reason.”

Police say Lee and a friend, described only as an Air Force serviceman from San Diego County, left the bar around 1:30 a.m.

Outside in the parking lot, a fight broke out between Vietnamese and Korean gang members, Sterling said. Lee and his friend may have had some involvement in the fight, Sterling said.

The two men then drove away and stopped several blocks later at a 7-Eleven convenience store in the 3900 block of 6th Street, Sterling said. Three cars with suspected Vietnamese gang members followed the pair.

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Lee stepped out of his car and entered a telephone booth outside the store, Sterling said. The three cars then pulled up.

Two men got out of a car and approached Lee. One man fired four shots from a handgun, striking Lee twice in the stomach, once in the leg and once in the arm, Sterling said.

The gunman and his accomplice then jumped back into their dark blue car and escaped, Sterling said. Those in the other two cars also fled.

Police said they do not know why Lee was visiting the area. Lee’s major and year at UC Irvine were also unknown. University officials could not be reached for comment.


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