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(3rd LD) 2 dead, 3 wounded in shooting at Seoul military camp

All Headlines 16:02 May 13, 2015

(ATTN: ADDS more details in paras 4, 7-11)
By Oh Seok-min

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- A reservist went on a shooting spree at a military training camp in Seoul on Wednesday, killing one person and wounding three others, before committing suicide, the army said.

The 23-year-old reservist, identified only by his surname Choi, "opened fire on his colleagues while receiving training at a military camp in Naegok-dong, southern Seoul, at 10:44 a.m. today," the army said in a brief release.

Four reservists who sustained injuries were rushed to nearby hospitals, but a 24-year-old later died and another is in critical condition, the army spokesman Ko Dong-heun said, adding the shooter died in an apparent suicide.

"After receiving a magazine with 10 rounds for a K-2 rifle, he fired one at the target before suddenly turning around to fire a total of seven rounds at other reservists," Ko said. "He then aimed at himself and killed himself. Investigators are looking into what caused him to do so."

Some 550 reservists were participating in the shooting exercise as part of the three-day training session from Tuesday, with exactly what happened at that time yet to be known.

In South Korea, all able-bodied young men are subject to compulsory military service for about two years. Beginning in the year after completing their active service, reservists are required to take part in an annual three-day training session for up to six years in an eight-year period. This is the first time in South Korea's military history that a reservist has opened fire on people, though the country has witnessed several suicides and accidents involving reservists with firearms.

While serving as an active-duty soldier, the shooter was on the military's blacklist of draftees "requiring special attention," according to another Army officer. He refused to be identified.

In a move to better manage the troops and to sort out the vulnerable, the authorities made the list factoring in the results of enlistees' psychological consultations and their backgrounds.

"He had been transferred to several units during his service as he failed to adapt to the barracks life," he said. "His medical records show that he had received treatment for depression."

In June, an Army sergeant detonated a grenade and fired on his comrades at their front-line border outpost in Goseong, Gangwon Province, killing five and wounding seven others. He was also classified as a soldier requiring extra care.

Expressing condolences to the victims and their bereaved family members, the defense ministry vowed to carry out a thorough probe and come up with measures to prevent a recurrence.

Meanwhile, South Korean rapper Psy had been at the camp to participate in the training prior to the incident, a source close to him said.

The "Gangnam Style" star "was granted an early leave due to an afternoon engagement," he said. "As the case occurred some 20 minutes after he left there, Psy had no idea there was such a case."

graceoh@yna.co.kr
(END)

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