Man exhibiting mental crisis charged in unprovoked shooting of pregnant woman in Seattle

Man exhibiting mental crisis charged in unprovoked shooting of pregnant woman in Seattle
AP Photo/Manuel Valdes
A picture shows Eina Kwon, center, and her husband Sung Kwon, right, at a memorial in Seattle, Friday, June 16, 2023. A pregnant woman who was killed in what appears to have been a random shooting in downtown Seattle this week has been identified as Eina Kwon, the owner of a sushi restaurant near the city's famed Pike Place Market. Her husband survived the attack.

SEATTLE (AP) — A man who police say was exhibiting signs of a mental health crisis after he shot and killed a pregnant restaurant owner in her car in downtown Seattle this week was charged Friday with first-degree murder in her death, and prosecutors said they are seeing whether they can also charge him for the death of the baby girl the woman was carrying.

Cordell M. Goosby, 30, was arrested Tuesday soon after witnesses said he ran up to a car occupied by Eina Kwon, 34, and her husband, Sung Kwon, 37, the owners of a sushi restaurant near the city’s famed Pike Place Market, and started firing a stolen gun into the vehicle without provocation.

Eina Kwon, who was eight months pregnant, was killed. Sung Kwon suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and the fetus died soon after emergency delivery. The King County Prosecutor’s Office said Friday that state law allows murder charges to be brought if the victim was “born alive”; it is reviewing medical records to determine whether a murder charge is warranted for the baby’s death.

The prosecutor’s office sought that Goosby be held on $10 million bail. It was not immediately clear if Goosby had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Goosby is also charged with attempted murder in the attack on Sung Kwon.

“The defendant’s actions left a family and community shattered,” senior deputy prosecutor Aubony G. Burns wrote in charging papers. “Victim S. Kwon and his family lost not just a wife, a mother, and a daughter when the defendant killed E. Kwon, but they lost an innocent baby girl.”

The couple was stopped at an intersection on their way to work at their restaurant, Aburiya Bento House, when Goosby ran up to them and started shooting, authorities said. He emptied the 9 mm handgun into the car and took off, throwing the gun down. When officers found him nearby, he put his hands up and said, “I did it, I did it,” police said.

In an interview following his arrest, police reported, Goosby told detectives that he had a history of mental health care and that he was being harassed by strangers who were spreading rumours about his sexuality and saying that he had done something to his caseworker.

“He did appear to Detectives to be in some form of crisis whether genuine or knowingly performed,” police wrote in a probable cause statement.

Goosby had no criminal history in Washington state, police said, but according to charging papers, he said he was wanted out of Indiana for a 2020 domestic battery case and has felony convictions from Illinois for drug possession and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Prosecutors said they were trying to confirm that information before adding a charge of unlawful possession of a weapon.

The gun had been reported stolen to the Lakewood Police Department, south of Seattle, authorities said.

It was not clear how long Goosby had been living in Washington, but he had a driver’s license from Washington state. Police said his last known address was an apartment building near downtown Seattle.

His arraignment is set for next Thursday, when the court will formally inform his attorneys he has been charged. But as is routine, Goosby is not expected to appear in court, according to Casey McNerthney, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. Goosby waived his appearance at an initial hearing earlier this week.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said Thursday that he had spoken with Sung Kwon.

“Eina was a leader in our community and business owner, running Aburiya Bento House with her family,” Harrell said. “What was supposed to be a joyful time for the Kwon family has turned into an unimaginable nightmare caused by senseless gun violence.”

The shooting has led to an outpouring of grief for the Kwons, who also have a toddler.

crowdfunding campaign to support the family and bring relatives from Korea to the funeral has raised more than $160,000.

Mourners have placed flowers and other remembrances at their now-shuttered restaurant, including Eunji Seo, the consulate general for the Republic of Korea in Seattle.

The Kwons opened Aburiya, which serves traditional and fusion sushi, in 2018. The restaurant is popular with tourists and downtown workers seeking lunch deals.

Michael Bufano, part owner of Mack Gallery, an art gallery next to the restaurant, said Eina Kwon would greet him with a smile in the mornings and bring him lunch if he was too busy — “the kind of people everybody wants to have as part of your community and as friends.”

For random violence to strike two people who seemed to have everything going for them was tough to stomach — especially as the neighbourhood seemed to feel safer recently, with the city taking steps to address mental health issues and drug addiction, he said.

“I think we’re on the right track and that’s why this hit so hard, I think,” Bufano said.

Eina Sung’s death marked the 29th homicide investigated by Seattle police so far this year, according to The Seattle TimesSeattle police investigated 55 killings last year, up from 41 the year before that.

The Associated PressThe Associated Press

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