Shop Owner's Heart Attack Leads To Teen Murder Charge

Photo courtesy of KALW

by Hatt-Me Kim

Oakland shopkeeper Dong Suk Kang suffered a fatal heart attack earlier this month immediately following a particularly tense confrontation with an alleged shoplifting high schooler.

The 14-year-old California boy took two bottles of vodka from Kang’s Oak Knoll Market and fled after a physically violent struggle with the store owner, according to authorities.

Kang attempted to pursue the juvenile in his car but only made it a few blocks before having what police call a heart attack triggered by anxiety due to the confrontation.

Prosecutors have charged the teen with murder and robbery.

Senior deputy district attorney Allison Danzig said that despite a lack of intent to kill, the boy is legally responsible because the death occurred during the course of a violent crime.

The 57-year-old owner faced problems with the troubled youth on several previous occasions and had even banned him from his store, his wife told the San Francisco Chronicle. In Cha Ho, 60, resumed business despite her grief-stricken state but was unsure how long she will be able keep the market open.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that she is relieved that the boy has been charged with murder.

“You kill people, you have to be punished,” the widow said. “I hope he doesn’t get out of jail.”