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Armed intruder in Koreatown beaten over head with golf club, police say

October 11, 2010 | 10:19 am

An armed burglar picked the wrong apartment to break into early Monday when a Koreatown couple beat him over the head with a golf club, sending him to the hospital, police said.

A resident at the complex in the 700 block of Kingsley Drive had left her apartment on her way to pick up a friend from a bar just after 2 a.m. Monday when she saw a suspicious man hanging near the elevator, police said.

“Something just didn’t look right so she decided to go back in,” said Det. Luis Corona of the Los Angeles Police Department.

But the man grabbed her and put a gun to her head, demanding money, authorities said.

They returned inside, where the woman gave suspect Keon Kim, 26, her wallet, Corona said. Unsatisfied with the $120 he found inside, Kim, a Korean national, took the woman into the bathroom and demanded to know who else was home, police said. She told him her boyfriend was.

When Kim left the bathroom to find the woman’s boyfriend, the woman screamed, waking her boyfriend.

The two men, Corona said, began to fight, throwing punches and scratching. The altercation spilled into the bathroom, then back outside the apartment -– all while the suspect kept control of his gun.

The boyfriend called out to his girlfriend to call 911. On her way back outside, she came across a golf club. She dashed outside with it and struck the man twice in the head so hard that the club broke into two.

“At that point, he manages to get up,” Corona said. “And he decides it’s time to go home.”

But the boyfriend chased him down to the second floor, where they continued fighting until police arrived.

Kim was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for head injuries and brain swelling, Corona said.

His gun turned out to be unloaded.

“Had the gun been loaded,” Corona said, “it would have been a different story. Somebody would be dead.”

Koreatown has experienced a recent uptick in property crimes, according to The Times' analysis of LAPD crime reports on Crime L.A., an interactive map and database.

For the seven days ending Oct. 4, the most recent period with complete data, Koreatown residents reported 50 property crimes.

A typical week has fewer than 40. The increase generated a Times' crime alert for the neighborhood, indicating to readers than an unusual level of property crime was taking place in the area.

Overall, Koreatown ranks relatively low in the per capita rate of property crime, at 140 of the 211 neighborhoods or cities patrolled by the LAPD or Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, The Times analysis found.

-- Robert Faturechi

Photo: A burglary suspect who was hit over the head with a golf club is sent to the hospital. Credit: KTLA-TV

Click for crime reports across L.A. County on The Times' interactive database