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Handyman sentenced to 96 years for shooting rampage at church camp near Temecula

March 18, 2011 | 12:03 pm

A handyman convicted in a 2009 shooting rampage that left one dead and four injured at a Temecula church camp was sentenced Friday to 96 years to life in prison, said an official with the Riverside County district attorney’s office.

John Suchan Chong, 71, opened fire at the Kkottongnae Korean Retreat Camp off Highway 79 in April 2009, later telling authorities the victims had not shown him or the Catholic nuns at the camp proper respect.

Chong worked as a handyman at the retreat, where he also lived. During the rampage, Chong walked 300 yards from his small house to a tidy bungalow belonging to Chuneui and Jong Pil Yun.

Once there he shot Chuneui, 58, in the head, killing her instantly. He then shot Jong Pil in the chest; Jong Pil survived despite being gravely wounded.

Chong then walked to the white and yellow cottage owned by Joseph and Juliana Kim, whom he planned to shoot as well, authorities said. But the Kims fought back ferociously with fists, furniture and weights.

Chong was later arrested by Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies.

A Riverside County jury in February found Chong guilty of first-degree murder.

The Kkottongnae Retreat Camp is run by the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus. Kkottongnae, which means "flower village" in Korean, is a Christian social service organization founded in Korea that works with orphans and the homeless.

From 50 to 100 people live at the site near Temecula. The organization has other retreats in Lynwood, New Jersey and Georgia.

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-- Phil Willon in Riverside

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