On November 15, 2021, a man in his 50s broke into his neighbor’s house on the third floor of a residential building in Incheon and stabbed three family members. The reason? He thought the neighbors were being noisy.
According to reports, the attacker, identified by only his surname, Lee, lived on the fourth floor of the building and had complained to his neighbors about noise around three months earlier. On November 15, the man then burst into their house and jabbed the couple and their daughter.
The mother, who is in her 40s, was stabbed in the neck and had to undergo surgery for a cerebral infarction. The father and daughter were badly injured as well and they needed five weeks to heal from the wounds.
Lee admitted trying to kill the mother in court but denied his attempt to kill the father and the daughter. However, the judge dismissed his arguments, outlining his horrendous crime, and convicted Lee of trying to kill all three family members.
Seized with a delusion that the victims downstairs deliberately make noise, he decided to murder them and went on to commit crime.
—The judge at Incheon District Court
In November last year, the Incheon District Court sentenced Lee to 22 years in prison. After his prison time, he was also ordered to wear a GPS-equipped electronic monitoring anklet for ten years. Lee submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court which he withdrew earlier this year, making the Incheon District Court’s ruling confirmed.
The case has brought forward heavy public criticism toward the police for their reaction to the attack. Officers were already at the scene before Lee even tried to hurt the family. According to reports, two police personnel were dispatched to the scene after some disturbance was reported. One of the officers took the husband outside to talk, and that’s when Lee attacked. The other officer fled the scene.
After the reports of police’s inaction caused controversy, the two officers were dismissed from duty. According to sources, the two filed an appeal after their dismissal. Additioanlly, they were indicted without detention last month for dereliction of duty.