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Former roommate held in killing

A Caltrans worker discovered the body of Min Woo Cho a month after he disappeared.

November 12, 2008|Ruben Vives | Vives is a Times staff writer.

Detectives announced the arrest Tuesday of a suspect in the shooting death of a 25-year-old Korean man whose body was found near an offramp of the 110 Freeway in July.

Authorities said family members reported Min Woo Cho, 25, missing on June 12. A month after Cho's disappearance, a Caltrans worker clearing brush near the Stadium Way offramp discovered the body.

An initial identification was made after clothing from the scene was shown to Cho's family.

At a news conference, detectives said they had arrested Steven Hyun Kwon, 24. A former roommate of the victim, Kwon had been with Cho at a Koreatown bar the night before his disappearance, LAPD Det. Alan Solomon said.

Kwon, a U.S. citizen with ties to South Korea, had been located at the Hustler Casino in Gardena on Oct. 15. He was taken in for questioning and was later booked on suspicion of murder that day, said Solomon, a member of the LAPD's gang operations and support division.

Solomon said the motive for the shooting may have been financial. Kwon, he said, had gambling debts, although the detective would not say how much the suspect owed.

The news conference was held at the Los Angeles Department of Public Works. In the lobby, Cho's aunt, Rebecca Kim, 36, said her nephew was "a good person" who cared about his parents. She said Cho was born in South Korea and had moved to Guam with his parents. He came to Los Angeles a few years ago to attend Santa Monica College full time.

"Just this fall he was accepted to Cal State University of San Diego," Kim said. "He was going to major in business."

Kim said Cho's parents have yet to accept the loss of one of their two sons.

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ruben.vives@latimes.com

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