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Fugitive S.Korean soldier attempts suicide

A South Korean soldier, who went on the run after killing 5 comrades in a shooting spree, was sent to hospital on Monday afternoon after shooting himself in the chest.

The suicide attempt came 2 days after the soldier suddenly threw a hand grenade and fired his automatic rifle at fellow troops. The incident occurred while he was on frontline duty in the northeastern province of Gangwon near the military border with North Korea. Seven other soldiers were injured in the attack.

The shooter then fled with his rifle and ammunition.
On Sunday, troops and police surrounded a forest where the soldier had been spotted. But the manhunt developed into an exchange of gunfire. Military personnel urged him to surrender.

Military officials say soldiers were about 7 meters away and his father was trying to persuade him to surrender before he shot himself at around 3:00 PM.

Officials say he is conscious and they plan to interrogate him after his condition stabilizes.

In July 2011, 4 South Korean military commanders and soldiers died in a soldier's shooting spree. In 2005, a shooting spree claimed 8 lives. In both previous cases, bullying inside the military is believed to have been the cause.

Jun. 23, 2014 - Updated 10:28 UTC