- Investigations have been ongoing following the deadly Halloween crowd surge in Seoul last month.
- One police officer, who was under investigation, was found dead on Friday, local media reported.
- It is unclear how he died, but police said they are investigating the circumstances.
A police officer who was under investigation over the deadly Halloween crowd surge in Seoul last month has been found dead, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
The officer, identified only as a 55-year-old man with the surname Jeong, was found in his home in Seoul by a family member at around 12:45 pm local time on Friday, the outlet said.
It is unclear how he died, but police said they are investigating the circumstances.
The official was in charge of intelligence affairs at the Yongsan Police Station, which covers Seoul’s popular Itaewon entertainment district, where the tragedy unfolded on the evening of October 29.
One hundred and fifty six people died in the district when an out-of-control Halloween street party caused a crowd of mostly young people to rush into a narrow downhill alley. The crowd became so dense that people were crushed to death.
The incident prompted national mourning in South Korea. Top officials, including the country’s chief of police and the mayor of Seoul, have subsequently issued public apologies, admitting they had failed to prevent the disaster.
Yongsan Police Station, where the officer worked, is among the agencies currently under investigation over suspicions that they failed to promptly respond to warnings, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The officer had been accused of ordering the deletion of an internal intelligence report that indicated police did not act despite receiving prior warnings of a possible incident, per Yonhap News Agency.
Transcripts of emergency calls, released by police earlier this month, showed that multiple people called to report dangerous crowding in Itaewon nearly four hours before it turned deadly, Channel News Asia reported.
Another police officer who was on duty that night, who tried to control the crowds, told the BBC that he was largely alone and was not told anything about crowd control.
“I feel I didn’t do my best. I didn’t fulfill my duty as a Korean police officer and I’m very sorry,” the officer, identified as Kim Baek-gyeom, told the BBC.