PORTLAND, Maine – A 74-year-old Maine man was scheduled to appear in court Monday to face charges in the shooting deaths of two of his tenants after a possible dispute over where they parked their cars during a snowstorm, state police said.
James Pak was arrested at about 10 p.m. Saturday after a three-hour standoff at his home in Biddeford, about 15 miles south of Portland, police said. He is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Derrick Thompson, 19, and Thompson's 18-year-old girlfriend, Alivia Welch. He was being held at the York County Jail in Alfred.
Thompson's mother, Susan Johnson, called police to report the shootings at about 7 p.m. The 44-year-old woman and her 6-year-old son also live in the apartment, which is attached to the Cape Cod-style house where Pak lived.
Before the shootings, Biddeford police were called to Pak's home over a dispute between him and his tenants over cars being parked in the driveway during the snowstorm, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said. Biddeford banned street parking during the night so city crews could plow the streets.
The Portland Press-Herald reported that the home has two driveways, one on either side of the house.
Minutes after Biddeford officers left the house, they received the call reporting the shootings. When they returned, police rescued Johnson and her young son, and Pak retreated to his section of the house, where he lived with his wife, McCausland said.
Pak's wife left the home, and he surrendered hours later after talking to police negotiators, said McCausland. A gun was found in the house.
Johnson was being treated for a gunshot wound at a Portland hospital, officials said. Her young son Brayden was not hurt.
Pak is a dry stone mason and the owner of Korean Yankee Landscape in Biddeford, according to his business website. It describes him as a Korean War orphan who came to the United States from Seoul, Korea. He grew up in Danby and Rutland and worked in the marble quarries.
He started his masonry and landscaping business in 1964, according to the website, and sold it in 2006, when he and his wife, Armit, moved to Biddeford and opened another business.
Thompson was an auto detailer at a car dealership and had attended Biddeford High School, and Welch worked at a local coffee shop and graduated from Thornton Academy in Saco, according to their Facebook profiles and a list of Thornton Academy graduates. Two people who answered a phone call at the coffee shop would not comment.
Neighbors told the Press-Herald that Pak was known for his short temper.
Andrew Lemelin, 19, who lives across the street from Pak, told the newspaper that he'd done some work for Pak earlier this year, but Pak wasn't satisfied with his performance. He said Pak wrote to his father asking for his wages back, but his father declined. Lemelin said Pak left a message on the family's answering machine that he described as disturbing and threatening.
Lemelin said his family gave the message to Biddeford police but nothing came of it.