by REERA YOO
A Queens man stabbed his wife and teen son to death before setting their apartment ablaze and slashing his own throat in a grisly murder-suicide, said the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Jong-hoon Lee, 50, was a truck driver who was reportedly going through financial woes and struggling to find work. According to The New York Times, detectives found a blood-stained and singed suicide note written in Korean inside Lee’s pocket.
“If I die by myself, it will cause too many problems for my child and my wife,” the NYPD translation of the note read. Therefore, it said, “we all have to leave.”
Sung-hae Lee with her son Brian Lee. (Photo via The Korea Times)
The fire broke out at around 4:50 a.m. on Sept. 9 on the sixth-floor at a Flushing apartment on Roosevelt Ave, said police sources. Firefighters found Lee’s body stacked on top of the bodies of his wife, Sung-hae Lee, 54, and his son Brian Lee, 16, inside the living room. All three had stab wounds, and a bloody knife was found at the scene.
According to family friends, Lee’s wife worked at a nail salon and his son Brian was a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School. The two were active members of their church.
Longtime neighbor Lo Lee, who has no family relations with the deceased, said he heard a disturbance coming from the apartment early Tuesday morning.
“I heard some banging. It sounded like glass breaking,” Lo Lee told New York Daily News through a translator. He added that the crime scene, which he saw later in the morning, was gruesome and had “blood everywhere.”
The police said they found no history of domestic incident reports or police responses at the residence. However, they did discover records of a 2005 bankruptcy with about $100,000 in debt, as reported by NY Daily News.
Notably, another murder-suicide occurred in the same neighborhood only the evening before, in which a Chinese man fatally shot his girlfriend and then killed himself. Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said the timing of the two incidents was especially unfortunate since they happened during the Chuseok and Moon Festivals, holidays known for their happy family gatherings.
Three firefighters sustained minor injuries while extinguishing the fire and were hospitalized. The police said the investigation was still ongoing.
Featured photo via Bruce Cotler of NY Daily News.