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Police: Suspect, tenants argued before shooting

| Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, 6:56 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A 74-year-old Maine man killed two teenage tenants inside their apartment while arguing with them about late rent, snow shoveling and parking, according to a police affidavit released on Monday.

James Pak of Biddeford walked into the apartment attached to his home and told the tenants he was going to shoot them before following through on his threat, police wrote. A third tenant survived by playing dead and hiding behind a Christmas tree. Pak allegedly told police he spared the life of a 6-year-old boy who lived in the apartment but thought he killed three adults.

Pak didn't enter a plea during his first court appearance on Monday in York County Superior Court, where he was ordered held without bail. He's charged with two counts of murder in the Saturday evening deaths of 19-year-old Derrick Thompson and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Alivia Welch.

Thompson and Welch lived in the apartment with Thompson's 44-year-old mother, Susan Johnson, and Johnson's young son.

Biddeford police had been at Pak's home minutes before the shootings. Thompson had called them to report that Pak was yelling and threatening him and banging on his door.

Police left after Thompson told the officers he didn't fear Pak, only to have Johnson call 911 three minutes later reporting the shootings.

Upon his arrest about 10 p.m. Saturday, Pak told detectives he thought he had killed three people.

Detectives interviewed Johnson in Maine Medical Center, where she was treated for non-life-threatening wounds.

She told them that she tried to hide behind a Christmas tree and play dead when Pak shot her.

Pak then retreated to the main part of the house where he lived and surrendered three hours later upon talking with a police negotiating team.

Pak had alcohol on his breath and told police he was suicidal and wanted to die, the affidavit reads.

Pak is a stone mason and the owner of Korean Yankee Landscape in Biddeford, according to his business website. It describes him as a Korean War orphan who came to the United States from South Korea. He grew up in Vermont and started a masonry and landscaping business in 1964, according to the website, and sold it in 2006, when he and his wife, Armit, moved to Biddeford and opened another business.

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