Business owner found in car trunk was shot

December 31, 2009 6:09:16 PM PST
The body of a North Shore businessman was found in the trunk of a car in the 5100-block of North St. Louis Avenue Wednesday. The vehicle was parked near his currency exchange on the city's Northwest Side.

Choi had moved to this country about 30 years ago from North Korea.

He lived with his wife and three children in north suburban Wilmette.

The north suburban neighborhood is in shock after learning about the murder of 55-year-old Brian Choi. So far, investigators have not given any idea of what possible motive could have been for this particular crime.

In the meantime, Choi's family has remained silent as investigators continue to search for a killer. Thursday afternoon, relatives and friends rushed to Choi's home in an effort to console his family.

"I'm very sorry this has happened to those children, to lose their dad," said Stephanie Quinn, the victim's neighbor.

Authorities say his daughter requested a well-being check Wednesday night when her father did not return home. Police found the body of the owner of the Foster Avenue Currency Exchange late Wednesday night in the trunk of his car. It was discovered around 11:40 p.m. parked around the corner from the Northwest Side business.

An autopsy determined Choi died from a gunshot wound to the face. Other officers raced to the North Shore neighborhood while they cordoned off the business.

"They just wanted to know if we heard or saw anything across the street," said Karyn Axelrood, the victim's neighbor.

Detectives have yet to say if the attack is connected to a holdup at the same currency exchange in July. Although three robbers were charged in the case, it is still open.

The Heather Lyons, who has lived above the store for eight years, remembers the attack.

"He was brutally abused and beaten on the hands, and he was trying to hold onto the money bags," Lyons said.

It is still unclear if the surveillance camera on a nearby church captured the crime.

"The camera was set up at our church because of break-ins, so hopefully that can help out with the case," said Ik Kim, Holy Nation Presbyterian Church.

Friends say though Choi had responsibilities as a husband and father, he always found a way to help people.

"I think they lost a really, I mean, a passionate man who actually cared for his family and who was trying to have a good life in America. But, I mean, I'm just really stunned," said Seong Heo, a friend of the victim.

That's what friend say is so puzzling. Choi gave no indication he was having problems with anyone and that makes this violence so puzzling to many.

On Thursday evening, police said they had no suspects and had made no arrests.