International Student Killed in Cold Blood
A beloved international student of Professor Kathy Sucher's was brutally killed on Jan. 30 after being in the country for only six months.
The irony of it all lies in the fact that Chung Ho Lee was so eager to come to the U.S. and to Santa Monica College that when his request for a visa was denied, he made a second attempt and with it wrote a letter-one that granted him his visa.
He came to the U.S. and to SMC in Fall 2004. His aspirations were to one day become an architect.
In Sucher's ESL 10 intermediate class in Fall 2004, Sucher said that Lee was "a wonderful student in my class last fall, an architecture major. He knew that English was key to his dream and worked diligently and dedicatedly at school. He was an excellent writer in English, among the very top students I have taught in my 20 years of teaching.He was an exceptional student."
"He was a passionate student," she said.
Sucher said that she knew there was something special about Lee.
She described him as being extremely shy and very serious about his education. With his dedication he set an example for his fellow students. And even though English wasn't his first language, he wrote exceptionally well.
"Teachers don't usually keep their students' work, but I saved his," she said. At his funeral service, she gave all his work to his parents who live in Korea.
After the fall semester, Lee and Sucher kept in touch because Lee was reading the novel, "The Single Shard" by Linda Sue Park that they would discuss.
In Sucher's class, Lee became close friends with a fellow student, Tay Kim.
Because Lee couldn't afford tuition costs at SMC, he decided not to attend during this winter session. He decided to get a job first.
On Jan. 30, Kim drove Lee to his job in Koreatown. Lee worked in a Karoake bar. Lee stepped outside to throw away the trash, when he heard a car crash into another car, he took a closer look.
Two males, described as gangsters, stepped out of a car, beat Lee and stabbed him in the stomach. The owner of the bar went outside and found him on the ground. Everything was caught on camera. Lee died at the scene.
Because Lee had dialed Kim'snumber, after the police got there, they took his cell phone and redialed.
Kim then called Sucher's school line and left a message marked urgent.
Sucher said she was in shock when she heard the message Monday morning.