Nassau County police identified the victim of an East Garden City office shooting this week as Zachariah Yong Jae Shin, a 25-year-old Whitestone, Queens native fatally shot by a gunman who’s now the target of a massive manhunt.
Shin, an employee of Savenergy on South Street, was allegedly killed by 63-year-old Sang Ho Kim, described as a disgruntled vendor for the lighting fixture company, who allegedly opened fire inside the office around 10 a.m. Wednesday, also injuring the firm’s owner, John Choi.
Choi is currently being hospitalized after suffering a gunshot wound to the head, according to David Lee, who co-founded The Korean American Public Affairs Committee with Choi.
Lee described Shin as a “very lovely boy,” who got to know Kim through his boss. Earlier this year, Lee said, Kim performed a renovation job at Shin’s family apartment in Queens but did “a lousy job” and requested more money for the work. Police haven’t said if Shin was targeted.
“I don’t believe it,” Lee said of the shooting, which occurred just south of Roosevelt Field Mall, sending shockwaves through Garden City’s busy shopping and business district.
The slaying sparked a large police presence in the area and has now spread to upstate New York where authorities from more than a dozen police agencies including the FBI have been trying to determine Kim’s whereabouts.
Police in Putnam County discovered Kim’s white Honda Pilot near a wooded area but he was not inside the vehicle at the time. The search is ongoing.
“The motive here appears to be work-related,” Chief of Department Steve Skrynecki told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. “It seems to be over some bad business deal.”
Choi, known as a very religious man, offered to help Kim through a tough time after the pair met at a church in Queens, Lee noted.
The relationship between the two soured after the Savenergy CEO eventually decided to part company, Lee said.
“He’s such a good man,” Lee said, adding that giving Kim a second chance “brought [Choi] a nightmare.”
Choi, who is unable to talk but communicates through writing, suffered a gunshot wound to the head, but the bullet didn’t pass through, Lee said. He said Choi “looks ok” and his friend’s condition was described to family members as “not a life and death situation.”
“It’s really a wonderful wonderful miracle,” he said. “We believe God saved him.”
Nassau police is asking the public to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS if they have any information on Kim’s whereabouts.