By Terry Collins
SAN FRANCISCO — A man charged with the gruesome deaths of two jewelry store clerks and critically wounding the shop owner believed he had overpaid by about $300, prosecutors said in revealing a possible motive for a crime that has shocked the San Francisco Bay Area for its savagery.
Suspect Barry White Jr., went to the Victoga jewelry store inside the San Francisco GiftCenter & JewelryMart last Friday to dispute a purchase he had made in May, Assistant District Attorney Scot Clark told reporters after White's first appearance in court on Tuesday.
White complained that the jewelry "didn't have as many grams of the precious metal as it was supposed to" and believed he had overpaid, Clark said, declining to elaborate on the type of jewelry or metal it contained.
The 23-year-old from the eastern Bay Area city of Antioch is charged with two counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder in connection with the slaying of clerks Lina Lim, 51, of Daly City, and Khin Min, 35, of San Francisco and the stabbing of the store's owner, Vic Hung, 50, who remains hospitalized in critical condition. The attack was captured by store surveillance videos.
"The way that this individual went about killing these people was one of the most brutal, most calculating homicides I've viewed in my entire career," District Attorney George Gascon told reporters after the arraignment in San Francisco County Superior Court.
Court documents say White left the store to feed his parking meeting and then returned armed with a .38-caliber revolver and a folding knife, waiting until other customers left the store.
He then approached the jewelry counter and spoke to Hung and Lim. White reached into his pocket, pulled out the five-shot revolver and fired multiple times, striking both Hung and Lim but not killing them, prosecutors said.
As they fled to a back room, White approached Min, who was standing by the door. Min panicked and ran toward White instead of exiting, prosecutors said.
When his shots missed her, White pulled out a knife and "viciously cut her from ear to ear," Clark said.
Surveillance video shows White then going after Hung and Lim in the back room. Hung, who was fighting back, was slashed across his face and hands, while Lim was nearly decapitated.
Covered in blood, White then appears to reload his gun as several police officers arrive, responding to reports of shots being fired. They approach him in front of the store not knowing if he was a victim or not, authorities said. White then opens fire on the officers as he runs toward a restaurant.
He surrendered after he ran out of ammunition, Clark said. Police would later search his vehicle nearby and find a loaded AK-47 and a more ammunition, Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said.
White did not enter a plea during his arraignment and is being held without bail in San Francisco County Jail until his next court date on July 24.
Bastian said there is a dispute about whether he will be represented by a public defender or private defense attorney.
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Copyright 2013 Associated Press