Court document: Suspected attacker called himself ‘God’

Criminal complaint describes bloody scene inside building where fatal sword attack occurred
Court document: Suspected attacker called himself ‘God’
Young Choi

Court documents said the man accused of a killing a Watertown man with a sword made multiple statements about God, Pi and aliens after the violent attack Thursday.

According to a criminal complaint, police said 29-year-old Young Choi stabbed his neighbor, 27-year-old Dustin Vanderheyden, in the abdomen and partially scalped him Thursday afternoon. Vanderheyden died about four hours later during surgery.

Officers were called to the second flood over Yanger’s Bar at 300 N. Fourth St. at 4:48 p.m. by a 24-year-old living in the apartment who reported someone being injured by a man with a sword. Police said when officers arrived at the North Fourth Street building, Choi was at the top of a stairwell leading to the apartment on the second floor and refused to surrender. A trained negotiator was able to get Choi to cooperate and surrender.

The criminal complaint received Friday described a bloody scene inside North Fourth Street where Choi is accused of attacking Vanderheyden.

Another neighbor, David Gerard, told police he heard someone yelling for help and left his apartment to see Choi striking Vanderheyden with what he initially thought was a stick, but realized was a sword when he tried to grab it and was cut, according to the complaint.

A third resident of the building told police he heard hysterical yelling and found Vanderheyden inside Choi’s apartment before the attack. Vanderheyden asked the man if he could talk to him in his room and Vanderheyden said the resident had “saved him” and that Choi was “crazy.” An hour later, the resident told police he heard screaming and Vanderheyden yelling “I’m sorry.” The resident said he saw hair and blood on the floor and walls. The resident also reportedly heard Choi ask Vanderheyden, “Who’s God?”

The complaint alleges that Choi killed Vanderheyden because Choi was interested in Vanderheyden’s wife. Vanderheyden’s wife told police Choi had made statements to her Wednesday that “(Choi) wanted her to be with him and that she should leave her husband” and he threatened to kill Vanderheyden. The victim’s wife said she believed she talked Choi down Wednesday and that there would be no problem.

During police interviews, Choi referred to himself as “God,” “Common Pi” and said he expected Vanderheyden to die from his injuries, the complaint said. He also allegedly told police the universe made him kill Vanderheyden.

Vanderheyden was found on the second floor with critical injuries. Vanderheyden and Gerard were taken to Watertown Regional Medical Center. Vanderheyden was treated but died from the injuries, police said. Gerard suffered lacerations on his thumb, index finger and middle finger when he tried to help Vanderheyden and received stitches, was treated and released, according to the complaint.

Police said they found two sword-type weapons in the apartment and other evidence. Choi was arrested on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless injury.