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2 Sought in Shooting Death of Fairfax High School Student

Crime: Schoolmate is among suspects in Koreatown slaying.

October 18, 1997|GEORGE RAMOS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Homicide detectives said Friday that they were seeking two young men in connection with the shooting death of a Fairfax High School student, who may have been killed in a dispute over whether a friend should join a gang.

Jun Jo, 18, described by his brother as a good student and a chess enthusiast, was shot once in the head Wednesday afternoon in the basement of a condominium building in Koreatown, where he lived with his parents. Jo was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, detectives said.

Investigators from the Rampart station said a Fairfax student, 17 to 18 years of age, went to see Jo at his condo in the 500 block of South Berendo Street about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Jo reportedly let him into the underground garage, where they were joined by a second young man.

An argument ensued and the second man pulled out a gun and fired a single shot at Jo, detectives said.

Two males were then seen running out of the garage, getting into a white Mitsubishi sports car and driving away, investigators said.

Det. Andy Cicoria, in a statement, said the Fairfax High schoolmate had had a confrontation with Jo, but he did not specify the source of the friction.

The victim's brother, Won Sang Jo, 24, said the dispute may have stemmed from his brother's belief that a friend should not join a gang. "He was just trying to help a friend," said the brother, 24, a computer science student at UC Irvine.

"This is so unfair."

What grieving family members admired in particular, the brother said, was Jo's ability to get along with all his classmates. Although born in South Korea, he spoke fluent English and Spanish in addition to Korean.

The family had spent several years in Ecuador before moving to Los Angeles several years ago, Won Sang Jo said.

A bright student, the lanky Jun Jo, a senior, was a member of Fairfax High's chess team. "He was very good at it," the brother said, choking back tears.

Investigators describe the suspected gunman as an Asian youth, possibly of Korean descent, between 5 feet 6 and 5 feet 8 and about 130 to 140 pounds. He was wearing black clothes, investigators said.

The second person at the scene, identified by police as a Fairfax student of Korean descent, is being sought for questioning.

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