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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Father demands accountability for son’s death by casino: ‘Jonathan was murdered’

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Jonathan Jung, who was pinned to death by five casino security guards in the parking lot of Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens on July 24, 2021, was a fourth-generation only son.

Jung’s father, 82-year-old missionary Jung Sik Jung, didn’t just lose a son; he also lost his daughter as a result of the incident. His daughter, Vanessa Jung, took her own life in shock after watching a video of her brother’s death. Father Jung did not watch the video—or rather, he couldn’t.

The trial started on June 17, and now he may have to watch it in the courtroom. Jung is temporarily staying with his wife, who suffers from dementia, in an apartment near the Long Beach Court where the trial is being held. On June 15, the Korea Daily spoke with Jung before the trial to get his thoughts.

Jung Sik Jung, the father of Jonathan Jung, who was killed in the Bicycle Casino, talks to the Korea Daily about the incident. [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]

How are you feeling now?
“What’s clear is that they killed my son. When I heard about my son’s death, I was on a mission in Ukraine. At first, I tried to keep it to myself, but my daughter, my son-in-law, and my lawyer all suggested I file a lawsuit. They said this was a social issue, not just a personal one, so I decided to do so. It’s not winning the case that I want. It’s finding out what is causing this problem in our society.”

Jonathan Jung suffered from mental illness.
“Jonathan had to get help from the government later on, but he tried to live his life the best he could. His sister, who is a psychologist, worked very hard to help him psychologically and medically. Jonathan did not harm anyone that day. He didn’t resist anything, and he complied with them. They should be held accountable for chasing him to the parking lot and killing him that way.”

What exactly should they be accountable for?
“It happened in a casino, so they can tell you to ‘leave’ by their rules. It’s their job, it’s their duty, but it’s not their duty to kill people. It was clearly illegal, and they should be held accountable.”

Related Articles:
Five casino security guards chased unarmed Jonathan Jung as if hunting game
Another Tragedy: Five security guards pin Korean-American man to death

You also lost your daughter after that.
“I still don’t fully understand my daughter’s death. She was going to be a pediatrician, but then she became a psychologist. It must have been because of her brother. She was very helpful to him. She knew him better than anyone else, and they were very close. I still can’t believe that such a child died like that.”

Did she leave anything behind before she left?
“Even after her brother’s death, she never told me that she was struggling. I didn’t know she was in such a difficult state, and neither did my son-in-law, who is a doctor. Even for a psychologist, the sudden death of her brother must have been just as shocking and difficult to deal with. I still remember my last phone call with my daughter. She called me after a long deposition with the casino’s lawyer and said, ‘This case has to go all the way… It’s too important, don’t give up.'”

It must be devastating to lose both of your children due to the incident.
“Death is something that we, as human beings, can’t do anything about. I forgot all the hardships I was going through after the death of my daughter. What is clear is that the casino doesn’t care about a person’s life. I hope to have everyone in society know this.”

BY YEOL JANG, HOONSIK WOO [jang.yeol@koreadaily.com]