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3.24.2010

"racial and sexual slur" sets off deadly party shooting

Hadn't heard about this until now... Over the weekend in Los Angeles, police arrested 55-year-old Steven Honma, who got into a scuffle over a "perceived insult" and shot another guest at a Persian new year's party. The victim died at the hospital: Victim in Westlake Village shooting was Art Center instructor. Oh man:

Honma was among the guests Saturday at a Persian new year's party, a festive gathering of more than 30 friends and relatives, including a Pasadena design instructor and his wife.

It was also Honma, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said, who grew suddenly enraged at a perceived insult during the party and marched to his home two doors away, returning minutes later with a knife and two guns.

Norman Schureman, 50, a teacher at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, was shot in the upper torso, said sheriff's Lt. Liam Gallagher. Schureman died early Sunday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.
It all started when someone at the party who made "a derogatory racial and sexual slur" about Honma's wife. According to his attorney, as a Japanese American growing up after World War II, Honma had experienced great trauma as a victim of racial bias. In this instance, something apparently snapped:
Dmitry Gorin, whose law firm is representing Steven Ronald Honma -- arrested Sunday in connection with the weekend slaying at a Persian new year's party -- said the 54-year-old engineer had been traumatized from years of insults targeting his Japanese heritage.
"This is a textbook heat-of-passion incident, which a jury would consider in deciding whether Mr. Honma is guilty of murder or a lower-level homicide such as a manslaughter," Gorin said. "While the sequence of events are still under investigation, there was someone at the party who made a derogatory racial and sexual slur about his wife. As a Japanese American growing up after World War II, Mr. Honma had experienced great trauma as a victim of racial bias, and that experience scarred him since childhood."
More here: Years of racial slurs 'scarred' Japanese American gunman charged in teacher's slaying, attorney says. While I can't condone Honma's actions, after reading this, I can sort of sympathize. To a point. Then you have to look at what actually happened.

If you leave a party, then come back with a knife and two guns, you're definitely out to hurt someone. You can't take that back. Now one guy -- who may or may not have anything to do with the insult that set the whole thing off -- is dead. And we have yet another crazy Asian man in the news who lost it and went violent.