Cut from Gourmet Ghosts 2 at the last minute: a fateful day in a restaurant at 110 S. Brand Blvd in Glendale…
Though it’s now a location in the Vegas Seafood chain, in the 1980s this was Uncle Lee’s Restaurant, and on April 30, 1987 it was the scene of a violent shooting.
“Then he tried to shoot me in the head. I told him ‘Don’t do it! Don’t do it!’ And he just said, ‘I want to kill you! I want to kill you!‘“
According to reports in the LA Times, it seems that owner Wen Lee had agreed to sell the restaurant to Johnny Soong and had already let him and his wife Tuai Li-chun start running things, but then Soong defaulted on a $5,000 payment.
Soong had already pulled a knife during a confrontation with Lee, and when Lee visited the restaurant that deadly day expecting – but not receiving – the payment, he returned soon after, only this time he was armed with a .38 pistol he had got from his car.
This time he entered the restaurant, greeted the pair – and then opened fire.
“He shot me in the back,” Soong said, adding that when he began to grapple with his would-be killer, Lee shouted “I want to kill you, I want to kill you!”
Soong suffered further bullet wounds to his foot and, tragically, Li-chun was hit in the face by another bullet meant for her husband.
Glendale Police Detective Joe L. Jiminez, who interviewed Lee after the shooting, said that Lee admitted he was going to kill Soong, and then kill himself.
It’s perhaps not surprising then to learn that Lee tried to commit suicide in jail, leading to a mistrial being declared. Lee was deemed incompetent, and was placed in psychiatric care indefinitely.