The pregnant owner of a Seattle restaurant was executed at a red light in front of her husband last week by a convicted felon from out of state with a history of mental health issues, authorities say.
Cordell Maurice Goosby, 30, a convicted felon out of Illinois also wanted in Indiana in connection with a 2020 domestic battery case, was charged last week with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the first-degree — both charges including a firearm enhancement — in the shooting death of 34-year-old Eina Kwon, who was 32 weeks pregnant, and the wounding of her 37-year-old husband Sung-hyun Kwon. The couple’s unborn child did not survive.
Authorities said that the shooting unfolded around 11:15 a.m. last Tuesday, June 13.
“In this case the defendant broke in a run with a weapon and ran towards the victims’ car with gun outstretched. In a short span of time he fired a gun in the victim’s car window, striking the victims inside the car. After firing all the bullets he had in the gun into the victims’ car, he turned and ran from the scene, throwing the murder weapon down as he ran,” prosecutors said in court documents requesting $10,000,000 bail. “The defendant’s actions left a family and community shattered.”
Prosecutors said that the Kwons were on their way to work to Aburiya Bento House, a Japanese restaurant they opened together in Belltown.
“Victim S. Kwon and his family lost not just a wife, a mother, and a daughter when the defendant killed E. Kwon, but they lost an innocent baby girl, but for the defendant’s senseless and seemingly random act of violence,” court documents said, noting that Goosby was also charged for wounding Sung.
In a Medium post, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office explained that Goosby was not immediately charged with murder for the death of Kwon’s unborn girl because of Washington State law.
“We are committed to ensuring justice for each victim in this case. Under Washington State law, a person can be only charged with homicide for the death of a person who was ‘born alive.’ The medical records are still being reviewed by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, Seattle Police investigators and King County prosecutors,” prosecutors said, answering several questions about the steps taken in the investigation.
Prosecutors said that Goosby is expected to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. on June 29 for an arraignment.
Though the defendant has a criminal history in Illinois, he did not have one in King County, prosecutors said. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz did say at a press conference, however, that cops did “know of the subject in the past” and were “very well aware of some of the mental health issues he’s had.”
Authorities believe that Goosby was “in some form of crisis whether genuine or knowingly performed” when he allegedly walked up to Kwon’s white Tesla, fired all of the bullets in his pistol (which was previously stolen during a burglary), tossed the gun, and declared “I did it, I did it,” when law enforcement arrested him, KOMO News 4 reported.
According to the report, Goosby referenced his mental health history upon his arrest and claimed that strangers had been spreading rumors about his sexuality.
A GoFundMe campaign started to help support the Kwon family raised more than $200,000 as of Monday, June 19.
“This is the story of my friend who unjustly and inexplicably lost her life to a gunshot. Sung-hyun Kwon (37), Eina Kwon (34), and their adorable and lively son, Suhjin (2), embarked on their journey to establish a loving home and business in the city of Seattle. A few years ago, the couple experienced a miraculous opportunity to open a restaurant, a business they passionately worked towards, located next to Pike Place Market in Seattle,” wrote friend Dong Won. “On Tuesday, June 13th, at 11 a.m., while commuting to work, they were stopped at a traffic light, preparing to make a left turn at the intersection of 4th Avenue and Lenora Street. In that moment, an unknown gunshot rang out, and instinctively, the husband tightly embraced his wife, who was eight months pregnant.”
“Despite feeling no pain due to the suddenness of the incident, he realized that the objects hitting his arm were bullets. Thinking he had successfully blocked all the randomly flying bullets, he turned to look at his wife and noticed that she had been shot and was in critical condition,” the GoFundMe continued. “He frantically tore his clothes to stem his wife’s bleeding and immediately boarded an ambulance to Harborview Medical Center’s operating room. However, the 34-year-old mother, with a beautiful smile and lovely demeanor, and their unborn daughter tragically passed away.”
The heartbreaking post said that Sung and Eina Kwon were preparing to celebrate their 2-year-old son’s 3rd birthday in the coming weeks.
“Sung is deeply immersed in grief over the loss of his loving wife and beautiful baby girl, while his older son is not yet aware that he will not be able to see his mom anymore,” the post said. “How could anyone explain this tragedy to a 2-year-old child who will never see his mom again? I remember my friend, Eina, was very excited to customize her son’s 3rd birthday cake and planned to have the party. His birthday is coming very soon, just a couple more weeks…”
Settle Mayor Bruce Harrell (D) called Kwon’s death an “unimaginable nightmare” that is “horrific in so many ways.”
“My deepest condolences go out to Sung Kwon and the entire family of Eina Kwon who was tragically murdered this past Tuesday in our Belltown Neighborhood. Eina was a leader in our community and business owner, running Aburiya Bento House with her family. What was supposed to be a joyful time for the Kwon family has turned into an unimaginable nightmare caused by senseless gun violence,” the mayor said last week in a lengthy statement. “This tragedy is horrific in so many ways – we have lost a mother and unborn child from an act of unprovoked violence. My heart is with Sung, who I spoke to today to express our support and condolences – he is a grieving but resilient father and husband who is grappling with unimaginable pain while recovering from his own injuries.”
“My heart is also with their young child, who will grow up without their mother, and our broader community that must process yet another traumatic, unnecessary incident that leaves our community hurting and incomplete,” Harrell added. “It is a universal truth that every person desires to be safe and feel safe in their neighborhood, and for AAPI and immigrant communities in particular, this loss drives an agonizing grief and reinforces common fears – a reflection of too many incidents of hate and discrimination, as well as heartache rooted in love for one another.”
Harrell said the shooting “never should have happened,” and blamed “too many guns on our streets, in this city and in this country.”
“The fact of the matter is that there was a gun, which had been reported stolen, in the hands of someone who should never have had one,” the mayor said.
King County jail records reviewed by Law&Crime show that Goosby was booked on two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder at 8:39 p.m. last Tuesday. His bond was set at $10,000,000.
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