Hawaii's Korean Community Stunned, Ashamed - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's Korean Community Stunned, Ashamed

Cho Seung-Hui Cho Seung-Hui
Mona Kim Mona Kim
Scott Choi Scott Choi
Donna Tominaga Donna Tominaga

By Leland Kim

ALA MOANA (KHNL) - Once the Virginia Tech gunman's identity was released Tuesday morning, it sent a ripple effect throughout various Korean communities in the U.S. Here in Hawaii, local Koreans were stunned by the news.

His face has been splashed across the TV screen all day. Cho Seung-Hui: the biggest mass murderer in U.S. history. For members of Hawaii's Korean community, they feel a sense of personal responsibility.

"Sorry," Mona Kim, who lives in the Ala Moana neighborhood. "All I can say is really sorry. It's sad, sad."

"As a Korean, I feel sorry and I'd like to apologize," said Scott Choi, a college student who works at a Korean restaurant. "I feel sorry for this happening."

This Ala Moana neighborhood is home to many Korean shops and restaurants. All day long, conversation turned to Cho. Many hope people can separate the acts of one person with an entire ethnic group.

"I hope that they feel, they just think it's not something done by all of the Koreans," said Choi. "It was just one guy who was crazy."

Some fear this could create a backlash against Koreans.

KHNL asked Korean American Donna Tominaga if she's worried.

"Of course, I'm worried about that," she said. "I don't want these kind of things to happen."

But she adds, Hawaii is more tolerant of Asians than the mainland.

"Hawaii is more comfortable for immigrants because a lot of Asians live here," said Tominaga.

In the end, they hope the nation can move forward, united in its grief.

"Everybody's the same, just the nationality's different," said Tominaga. "We're just born in different places. That's all. We're all brothers and sisters."

A family torn apart by a senseless tragedy.

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