Police ID Chinese man as Saipan gunman

08:24, November 23, 2009      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The gunman who killed at least four people and wounded nine others in a shooting rampage on the Pacific island of Saipan on Friday has been identified as 42-year-old Li Zhongren of China, foreign media reported.

The shooting spree at a popular tourist site claimed the lives of two men, a 4-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, all residents of Saipan.

Eight South Korean tourists and a 4-year-old local girl were wounded before the shooter took his own life, the Associated Press quoted local police as saying.

Police yesterday said Li was the gunman and that he left several notes.

Authorities suspect the violence was linked to his personal finances and frustrations.

Public safety spokesman Jason Tarkong said a motive is still being investigated by local authorities, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, but it "may be related to issues about money and the suspect's emotional frustration".

Saipan is the main island of the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Li was an employee at a shooting range, according to Saipan media reports.

The suspect left behind a suicide note that spoke of a business deal that had gone bad, AP quoted a local news station as saying.

Police told AP the attacker first took aim inside a shooting range, taking down two men in their early 20s and two children.

The 4-year-old girl was critically injured with a gunshot wound to the chest.

At about 11:30 am, shortly after the first attack, the suspect reportedly began firing a rifle from a white van, targeting a group of South Koreans visiting a World War II historical spot.

Police and witnesses said the suspect parked his van and walked to the edge of the region's Banzai Cliff after the attack.

But instead of jumping off the cliff, the gunman shot himself.

Three rifles and more than 750 rounds of ammunition were recovered from Li's van, which he set ablaze, possibly to destroy personal identification and documents before shooting himself at Banzai Cliff.

"The commonwealth has never experienced a tragic situation like this, and we are saddened by the appalling action of a single individual that has caused so much harm to our peaceful island community," AP quoted Benigno R. Fitial, governor of the Northern Mariana Islands, as saying.

On Saturday, the US-based Chinese-language newspaper China Press quoted an unnamed official from China's consulate-general in Los Angeles as saying that the suspect was a Chinese national.

Officials at the consulate could not be reached yesterday.

On Friday afternoon, local time in Los Angeles, the consulate also received from Saipan police a notice that said the suspect was a Chinese national, China Press reported.

Officials at the consulate later contacted the suspect's family on the Chinese mainland, the newspaper reported.

Source: China Daily
  • Do you have anything to say?
Special Coverage
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • First Xiaolong fighter made in Pakistan
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion