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Two dead in North Bend restaurant murder-suicide
NORTH BEND -Instead of their usual spread of spicy scallops and California rolls, lunchtime customers at Happy Sushi and Teriyaki Friday were met with a closed sign and small make-shift memorial.
The night before, owner David Chung took a taxi from the Issaquah jail to the restaurant, stabbed his wife Annie Chung four times in the kitchen and then stabbed himself fatality around 6 p.m.
The family's attorney, Kevin Jung, said earlier in the week the couple had a dispute, 911 was called and police arrested David. His wife had a restraining order against him and he spent two nights in jail.
He would have stayed only one night, but a translator could not be found for his arraignment.
"What's so shocking is that she came to see me yesterday," Jung said. "I spent a few hours with her."
Less than 10 hours later Jung read of the slaying in The Seattle Times.
"I was distraught. She was supposed to call me."
But when Jung dialed her number Friday morning, the police answered.
Normally when someone being held is released from custody, local law enforcement are notified and told to be on alert for a possible phone call from the victim depending on how dangerous the situation is. But Jung said he heard that when police arrived at the scene of the murder Thursday night, they weren't aware of David's release.
"Something like this may have fell between the cracks," Jung said. "I don't want to accuse law enforcement of not doing their job. Someone intent on doing this is going to do it."
Jung said domestic violence offenders are not required to wear ankle braces or similar monitoring devices so law enforcement can tell where they are in relation to the victim. He believes that should change.
"Chung had no criminal past," Jung said. "Bellevue police said they were not aware of how dangerous the situation was because his record came up clean, but anyone who has a domestic violence crime should have to wear a device so the sheriff's office can be on the lookout."
The Chungs, both U.S. citizens, lived in Bellevue with their two sons, ages 15 and 12. They came to the United States from Korea in the '80s. The boys are likely to stay with Annie's siblings.
Jung said Annie was thinking about divorce, but in Korea both spouses have to consent to it, whereas in Washington only one needs to want it in order for the divorce to go through.
"The assailant felt if I [husband] don't consent, you [wife] won't get it," Jung said. "With marital relationships things happen and sometimes it gets out of hand. It's actually embarrassing for them, culturally."
As with most domestic violence cases, the incident that led to David's arrest wasn't the first and the victim kept the trouble under wraps for some time to avoid shame.
"She didn't come forward in order to protect the family name and the kids," Jung said. "In a small Korean community, word gets around quickly."
But before it could, the small community of North Bend paid its untimely respects.
"There has been some show of condolences," Jung said. "On behalf of the family, I want to extend gratitude for their concerns."
Regular customers Jacob and Julie Noury brought flowers to lay in front of the restaurant, located at 458 S.W. Mount Si Blvd. They said a neighbor of theirs was inside Happy Sushi when the murder occurred and phoned them that night.
"She [Annie] was such a beautiful, great person," Jacob said. "It weighs so heavy on our hearts. It hits you like a million tons of bricks."
The North Bend couple had been eating at Happy Sushi since it opened about two months ago, but said they had no idea the owners were having trouble.
"We really enjoyed coming here. It's so sad for us," Jacob said.
Kelly Ohm owns Cigar and Gifts right next door to Happy Sushi. Her son was running the store when the stabbing took place.
Ohm said despite her close proximity to the restaurant, she didn't communicate with the owners much outside of ordering lunch.
"I never noticed a problem," Ohm said. "They seemed like a really nice couple. After this happened people started saying they had a lot of trouble as husband and wife. We didn't have any idea."
Since the incident occurred, Ohm said business has been waning.
"It's usually pretty busy Friday morning, but look at this," she said.
Business owners along the strip mall echoed Ohm's observation as what would have normally been a bustling Friday afternoon took on a vacant, somber tone.
At Hair Masters three doors down, stylist Gary Glenn said he always kept the Happy Sushi menu posted in case clients got hungry.
"I was shocked by it because there were no outward signs," Glenn said, though he pointed out the couple never drove to work together.
Jung said family members are likely to take over the business. It was scheduled to be re-opened Nov. 1.