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Trial set for gang member accused of killing woman at Cypress cafe

January 28, 2011 |  3:09 pm

Venus_hyun A capital murder trial is scheduled to begin Monday for an Asian street gang member accused of shooting a Cerritos woman to death and attempting to kill six others in a Cypress restaurant, authorities said Friday.

Stephenson Choi Kim, 31, of San Gabriel is accused of killing Venus Hyun, 22, at the Fifth Wave Cafe in Cypress in 2004 while shed dined with friends. Kim's trial will be in Santa Ana.

Kim and six other gang members allegedly drove to the restaurant on March 14, 2004, where Hyun and six friends were eating dinner, prosecutors said. Two of the gang members went inside and asked the victims if any of them belonged to a gang.

One of the people in Hyun's party, Richard Woodhead, told them he used to be in a gang but was no longer affiliated with them and the two gangs were not rivals. The pair then left and shared their conversation with Kim, prosecutors said.

Kim then allegedly entered the crowded cafe with a firearm while the others waited outside. Moments later, Kim shot at the group with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, according to authorities. Hyun, whom prosecutors described as an innocent bystander, was shot in the back.

The bullet ricocheted off her shoulder blade, ultimately lodging in her brain, prosecutors said. She was pronounced dead at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

Four others, all in their 20s, were shot but not killed. Kim allegedly shot at Woodhead and another man but missed before fleeing out the back door.

Anonymous tips eventually led to the arrest of Kim and the six others, who face the same charges, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney’s office. They face a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole and will be tried later.


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-- Nate Jackson

Photo: Venus Hyun. Credit: Handout