ASIAN CRIMINAL STREET GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF MURDERING WOMAN AND ATTEMPTING TO MURDER SIX OTHERS IN UNPROVOKED CAFÉ SHOOTING

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # 04WF0953






March 14, 2011

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

ASIAN CRIMINAL STREET GANG MEMBER
CONVICTED OF MURDERING WOMAN AND
ATTEMPTING TO MURDER SIX OTHERS IN
UNPROVOKED CAFÉ SHOOTING

*OCDA is seeking the death penalty in this case

 

SANTA ANA – An Asian criminal street gang member was convicted today of murdering one woman and attempting to murder six other people in an unprovoked shooting at a Cypress café. Stephenson Choi Kim, 31, San Gabriel, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder, six felony counts of attempted murder, one felony count of street terrorism, and sentencing enhancements for murder for a criminal street gang purpose, the personal discharge of a firearm, discharge of a firearm by a gang member causing death, vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member causing great bodily injury, and criminal street gang activity. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty in this case. The penalty phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday, March 16, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

 

Six co-defendants face the same charges as Stephenson Kim in this case and a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. The co-defendants are Robin Kim, 28, Cerritos, Christopher Ung, 27, Lakewood, Wilson Sun, 28, Lakewood, Chakris Kanchanapoomi, 27, Long Beach, Ashil Manek Nair, 26, Cerritos, and Glenn Lamuel Watkins, 24, Lakewood.

 

On March 14, 2004, Stephenson Kim was drinking at a home with several members of his Asian criminal street gang including Robin Kim, Nair, Sun, Watkins, Kanchanapoomi, and Ung. The defendants left the home in several cars armed with firearms with the intent to fight with rival gang members.      

 

At the 5th Wave Café in Cypress, 22-year-old Venus Hyun was enjoying dinner with six friends. Nair and Watkins entered the café and approached the victims to ask if any were gang members. Victim Richard Woodhead explained that he had previously been connected to a criminal street gang, but said that he “didn’t bang anymore” and the two gangs were not enemies. Nair and Watkins left the café and told Stephenson Kim about the conversation they had inside.

 

Stephenson Kim took a firearm and entered the crowded café. The other defendants waited outside as Robin Kim drove to the rear entrance to wait for Stephenson Kim. Stephenson Kim approached the table where Hyun was sitting with her friends and began to shoot at the seven people at the table. Stephenson Kim murdered Hyun by shooting her in the back. The bullet entered her body, bounced off her shoulder blade, and ultimately lodged in her brain. Hyun collapsed and died a few hours later at the hospital.

 

Stephenson Kim also shot Jean Lee in the back. The bullet went through the victim’s body and exited her chest.  Stephenson Kim shot Michael Paek in the hand and John Chung in the arm. When Ronald Woodhead attempted to wrestle the firearm from the defendant, Stephenson Kim shot the victim in the stomach. These four victims survived the shootings. Stephenson Kim missed victims Richard Woodhead and Kung Yoo as he shot at the group of friends. 

 

Stephenson Kim fled out the back door to the car w