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Apartment Complex Tenants Decry Slaying of Manager

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tenants entering 722 S. Ardmore Ave. on Monday were reminded of what happened to Daniel Kim. Glass doors to the street were shattered. An apartment door was battered. And on the sidewalk outside was a small plant tied with a pink ribbon, a memorial to the building manager who was beaten to death by a horde of gang members over the weekend.

Residents of the Koreatown apartment building remembered Kim as an industrious father of three whose death underscores the danger of working as a resident manager in some areas of Los Angeles.

“He was hard working--out here cleaning the property at 3 or 4 in the morning, working two jobs,” said one resident who has lived at the address for 30 years. “It’s a tragedy of the first order. It was totally unnecessary.”

Residents said Kim had managed the 37-unit complex for about three years. His wife was out of town at the time he was killed.

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A block away, news of Kim’s death had other resident managers reconsidering their occupations. “It’s not a good job, but I’m taking care of my sons,” said Jennifer Kim (no relation), who says she is frightened when she must chase vagrants from the property or evict large groups who crowd into two-bedroom apartments.

A Sunday night party by a new tenant family was what led to Kim’s death, said Detective Russell Poole of the Los Angeles Police Department. Poole said a gang member crashed the party, which started about 10 p.m.

Witnesses said they saw the gang member being beaten by party-goers, and that he hastily retreated about 1 a.m. Half an hour later, he returned with at least 10 other gang members. They broke the exterior glass doors and began to hurl objects through the apartment window, Poole said.

Kim emerged from his apartment carrying a golf club. The gang members surrounded the manager, grabbed his club and beat him with it, and then kicked and punched him before leaving him on the street outside the building, Poole said. An ambulance took him to County-USC Medical Center, where he died.

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Sunday night, Daniel Ode and Salvador Lopez, both from the San Fernando Valley, were arrested on suspicion of murder, as was a juvenile whose name was not released.

Dan Foller, president of the Apartment Owners Assn. of Southern California, said it is not uncommon for a manager to be threatened by tenants.

Danger is “part of the job,” Foller said, recalling a time when he was collecting rent and was warned that two residents were waiting for him with a shotgun and machete.


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