Myung Jae Kim
Myung Jae Kim

Myung Jae Kim Faces 5 Life Terms for Hostage Standoff over Beef with Bank Manager

A 54-year-old man who apparently blamed a bank manager for his financial loses—before taking her hostage and being shot in a standoff last week—faces 12 felony charges that include multiple counts of attempted murder and the possibility of five life terms plus 40 years in state prison, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) announced today.

The hostage situation went down Thursday at Saehan Bank in Buena Park, but police say Myung Jae Kim of Irvine had a beef with the unidentified manager from her previous employment at an unidentified Garden Grove bank.

"He was out a large sum of money and believed the bank responsible," Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez said at a press conference Monday about Kim, who owns a water-filtration business in Garden Grove and has no criminal record.

A woman's 9-1-1 call from Saehan Bank at Beach Boulevard and Los Coyotes Drive before 11 a.m. Thursday reported a man with a gun and complaints against the branch, which is among seven in Southern California that mostly serve Korean-American businesses and individuals.

Kim communicated to police during the standoff that he wanted $250,000, and after agreeing to release everyone from the bank except the manager, he threatened to kill her and himself if that demand was not granted, Sianez revealed.

When it was just the two of them left in the bank, police were able to coax Kim and his hostage out to retrieve a phone, at which point the gunman is alleged to have fired a shotgun at officers before he was hit multiple times with return fire. Kim is accused of firing at the branch manager but missing her. She was unharmed. Three cops suffered minor injuries from glass and shrapnel. Kim is hospitalized in critical condition.

Sianez said a pipe bomb was found in Kim's pocket, and three more were on a table inside the bank next to a knife, a lighter and shotgun pellets. Bomb-making material was later found after search warrants were served on Kim's home and business, the chief added.

Today's OCDA statement is light on such details of the incident because, as this is an officer-involved shooting, local prosecutors are separately investigating that aspect, as is routine. Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator Paul Kelly at 714.347.8818.

Meanwhile, Kim was charged Monday with four felony counts of attempted murder, three felony counts of assault with a firearm on a peace officer, and one felony count each of possession of a destructive device in a public place, explosion of a destructive device, second-degree robbery, kidnapping to commit a robbery, and criminal threats. He also faces sentencing enhancements for no probation, the personal discharge of a firearm and the personal use of a firearm.

If he is convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of five life terms and 40 years in state prison, according to the OCDA, which notes Kim is being held without bail in his hospital bed pending an arraignment date to be determined.

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