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Man kills Koreatown restaurateur in his eatery, then shoots himself

Times Staff Writers

Two men were shot and killed Tuesday afternoon at a popular Korean barbecue restaurant in the Koreatown area in what police described as a murder-suicide.

The victims were identified late Tuesday as Hyo-Jin Lim, 51, the owner of Suhrabal Restaurant at 100 S. Western Ave., and Sae-Kyoon Na, 47.

According to Jason Lee, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman, Na entered the restaurant shortly before 5 p.m., killed Lim by firing several shots at him from a semiautomatic handgun, then turned the weapon on himself.

The motive, still under investigation, was “some kind of unknown dispute,” Lee said.

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He said Lim and Na, both of Korean background, did not appear to be relatives or to have worked together, and robbery apparently was not involved.

Earlier Tuesday, dozens of police cars, along with a special weapons and tactics team, showed up and taped off several blocks around the crime scene.

A Korean man was briefly detained but was later determined to be a witness. Police sent counselors to the scene to help distressed customers of the restaurant who had witnessed the shooting.

Authorities said the initial report came about 4:45 p.m. from people in the bustling commercial area who said they heard several shots fired.

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While searching the restaurant, including the large main floor and an attic, officers found the bodies of the men. d’Lisa Davies, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said one of the men was found behind the counter; she didn’t know where in the restaurant the other victim was found.

The restaurant is a landmark in the Korean community. “Everybody knows about it,” said Albert Poghosyan, general manager of Hi Pizza Italian Kitchen, which is about half a block away.

Shortly after the incident, Poghosyan said that he had not been told anything by police, but “the whole block is police cars all over the place.”

michael.kennedy@latimes.com

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stuart.silverstein@latimes.com


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