Seoul Halloween crush: A police inspector under investigation for a disaster found dead


seoul
CNN

A senior South Korean police inspector who was being investigated in connection with the Halloween crowd deaths in Seoul has been found dead at his home.

The inspector was found dead by his family around 12:45 on Friday, according to South Korean police.

Police said they are investigating the circumstances.

The news comes after investigators raided the offices of the Yongsan District Police Station, which oversees the Itaewon nightlife district, where the crush took place.

In what was one of the country’s worst disasters, 156 people died after tens of thousands of costumed revelers celebrating Halloween poured into the popular nightlife district, many of them trapped as narrow streets became clogged .

Public anger over the disaster has grown since it emerged that hours before the tragedy, members of the public had called the police to warn of overcrowding problems.

Korean authorities have also come under fire after witnesses said few crowd control measures were in place in Itaewon on the night of the crash, despite police receiving warnings well in advance.

Last week, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said investigators raided eight of its offices and seized documents related to reports made by members of the public on the 112 emergency line.

The raids were carried out by a special investigative unit set up by the National Police Agency (NPA) to investigate the disaster. The NPA said last week it had suspended the chief of the Yongsan police station, one of the stations closest to the crush site.

Records provided to CNN by the NPA show that police received at least 11 calls from people in Itaewon concerned about the possibility of a crowd crush as early as four hours before the incident occurred.

The first call came in at 6:34 p.m., when a caller warned: “It looks very dangerous … I’m afraid people might get crushed.”

Another person who called less than two hours later said there were so many people crammed into Itaewon’s narrow alleyways that they kept falling and hurting themselves.

Speaking to the media last week, NPA chief Yoon Hee-keun admitted for the first time that the police had made mistakes in their response.

He added that the police response to emergency calls had been “inadequate” and that he felt a “great responsibility” as head of the agency.

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