Operators of a rural Maryland religious retreat where a man was killed in a double stabbing are heartbroken over the weekend attack, a board member said Tuesday.
Given the behavior of a homeless man charged in the case, the board of Anna Prayer Counseling Inc. should become more cautious in welcoming people with possible mental health issues to the center near Urbana, about 40 miles from Washington, Peter Chang said. But he added that as a Christian counseling center, “that’s what we’re here for.”
“We’ll just have to be more careful and police those who have mental health problems,” said Chang, a retired Rockville businessman, adding he was speaking for himself, not for the board. “If there’s any indication of mental health problems, we just have to be very cautious.”
Chung Hwan Park, 62, of South Korea was killed Sunday evening at the nearly 140-acre complex, which includes an interdenominational church and seminar facilities for up to 60 people.
Park’s wife, Ae Suk Ko, 57, is recovering from stab wounds police say she got trying to defend her husband from Song Su Kim, 30, a Korean-American who was staying at the center.
Kim is charged with first-degree murder and other offenses. Frederick County Public Defender Mary Riley, listed in online court records as Kim’s lawyer, didn’t’ return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press.
Police said Kim told investigators he attacked Park with a kitchen knife because he was tired of being treated badly by “all Koreans,” and wanted to “invade a Korean.” He allegedly said Park had treated him badly that day.
Chang said Park and Ko were dedicated missionary volunteers who had been at the center for about three weeks. He said they had been working in the kitchen, among other areas. Police say Kim had called 911 a day before the attack to complain about the quality of food at the center.
Police say Kim had been brought to the center by his mother in northern Virginia five days before the attack. Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Stein said in a court hearing Monday that Kim is homeless.
SOURCE: The Associated Press, David Dishneau