South Korean prosecutors indicted the chief of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency for the 2022 Halloween crush that killed more than 150 people, Reuters News Agency reported. Seoul police chief Kim Kwang-ho was charged with contributing through negligence to the harrowing incident that also injured 133 people, according to the Seoul Western District Prosecutors Office.
The charges came more than a year after the incident in which celebrants enjoying Halloween in Seoul became trapped and crushed as the crowd surged into a narrow alley in the capital's leisure district of Itaewon. More than two-thirds of the people killed were young people or women.
Police launched an investigation right after the incident, deploying a 475-person task force to determine the cause of the disaster. Investigators combed through security camera video and interviewed witnesses to determine how so many people lost their lives so quickly.
There were 137 police officers deployed that night to control the crowds in the central Seoul district amid the Halloween festivities. It was estimated that more than 100,000 people attended the celebrations.
At least 20 of the dead were foreigners from China, Russia, Iran and elsewhere. Two American college students were among the dead, the U.S. State Department said. The University of Kentucky said that junior nursing student Anne Gieske had been killed. Kennesaw State University student Steven Blesi, an international business major, was also among those who died, the school said.
President Biden tweeted at the time that he and first lady Jill Biden were "devastated to learn that at least two Americans are among so many who lost their lives in Seoul."