Sunday, March 4, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, March 4, 2001

Ex-Isle man fends off Guam gunman

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Tom Kim was shot three times at close range, beaten and had a gun pointed to his head by a man who had just killed two women at a Guam medical clinic. Although his life was in the hands of another man, the former Hawaii resident considered it a blessing to have been placed in that situation.

With a strong belief in God, Kim feels he was there to spare the lives of many others. The gunman, an angry former employee of the Tamuning Clinic, had already shot five people and had a list of former colleagues he wanted to kill.

That list did not include Kim, but for 30 minutes, Kim was held hostage. Police said the gunman, Peter Aguon Maguadog, 44, entered the Seventh-day Adventist clinic Monday and shot his estranged wife, Lucia, and a nurse, Bernadette Moreno. He also shot four others, including Kim.

Kim, 46, is a consultant for the clinic and travels to Guam from his home in Sacramento, Calif., about twice a month. He worked as a business services director at Castle Medical Center in 1987-95 and his two daughters graduated from Hawaiian Mission Academy.

Kim was working in a ground-floor administration office on Monday when he heard a commotion on the second floor. He asked what was going on, but no one else was in his office.

Less than 10 minutes later, Kim said, someone ran into the office and he heard heavy breathing next to him. He turned, saw Maguadog and asked if he needed help.

"He said, You’re my hostage!’" Kim said from his apartment in Guam. "I didn’t comprehend clearly so I said, Excuse me?’ He looked at me and said, You think I’m kidding?’ and the next thing I heard was pop pop.’"

Kim said he saw a handgun and a cloud of gray-blue smoke, but didn’t realize he had been shot in the leg until he saw his blood trickling to the carpet. One shot went through his thigh and lodged in his chair; the other grazed his calf.

'I felt I could overcome it'

As Maguadog screamed at him, Kim said he prayed for strength and confidence.

"Suddenly, I felt very comfortable. And even though he pointed the gun to my head 40 to 50 times, I felt I could overcome it," Kim said.

For the next 30 minutes, Kim tried to reason with the man as police hovered outside. At one point, Maguadog showed a little compassion by pulling out a computer mouse cord so Kim could use it as a tourniquet for his wounded leg.

But Maguadog also told Kim that the two of them would die that day. As time went on and Maguadog became increasingly agitated, Kim said he knew he would have to do something to end the situation.

Maguadog told Kim that he wanted to speak to Guam’s governor to make demands. Kim picked up the phone, dialed the clinic’s operator and told Maguadog that the governor would be on the phone soon.

Kim asked Maguadog if he wanted to speak to anyone else. Maguadog said he wanted to talk to his son.

Maguadog put down one gun to search his pockets for a phone number, while holding a second gun in his left hand. Kim saw this as his last chance to escape.

Kim lunged at Maguadog and grabbed the gun. But Maguadog was able to fire a shot that ripped into Kim’s right shoulder.

Somehow, Kim kept his hands on the gun as Maguadog repeatedly pulled the trigger. But the gun didn’t go off.

Kim was told later that the gun didn’t fire because his fingers were preventing the spent shell from discharging from the gun and allowing a new bullet to enter the chamber.

Frustrated, Maguadog began to beat Kim in the face.

Police to rescue

"I was losing my strength, but I wouldn’t let go of the gun. I started screaming for help," Kim said. "Suddenly, I heard officers shouting and I heard a shot. I thought I got shot again."

But the shot, and a second one, hit Maguadog. He was taken to an area hospital where he died.

Kim describes himself as "an average-sized Asian" and thought he was tough. But Maguadog, a martial arts expert, was a solid, muscular man.

"When I held his hand with both of my hands, I knew instantly that I made a mistake and I’m gonna die. He was so strong, he wouldn’t even budge."

Kim was hospitalized for two days and asked to be released. His wife, Young, is expected to fly to Guam and the two will return to California this week.

Kim said he has no hard feelings toward Maguadog. In fact, he said he feels sorry for the man, who had a history of mental illness.

"I heard that he was a very nice person. I don’t have any grudge against him. I feel sorry that he did not receive appropriate treatment or not enough treatment," Kim said.

Kim shuddered when he thought about the number of people who could have been killed had Maguadog not encountered Kim in the administrative office. Kim said there were more than 15 people working in offices near the back of the building.

"I hate for the public to see God this way, but God had a purpose for me to be there to prevent further killings and tragedy. I’m glad that I was part of it. I’m very thankful that God saved my life and maybe used me as one of his tools. So I was at the right place at the right time, not at the wrong place at the wrong time."

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