April 30th will mark the 25th anniversary of the L.A. riots that devastated large parts of the city after the Rodney King trials.
For five days rioters destroyed or severely damaged 3,767 buildings and killed more than 50 people. However, a story that has been overlooked is how the neighborhood of Koreatown survived throughout the turmoil until now.
A&E announced on Sunday that they plan to release a television special about how the government abandoned the residents of Koreatown. They were left with only their semi-automatic weapons to defend themselves and their property.
David Joo, the former manager of the Western Gun Shop, is one of the most prominent people featured in the TV special. He detailed how he called the police and watched them arrive, but as the gun fire started, they fled, leaving Joo to his own devices.
“We already called the police, then when I arrived here at the beginning, I could see the LAPD vehicle with like three or four officers there,” Joo said.
“Oh, we have the police here, we are safe!” Joo said to his employer Richard Park at the time. “But as soon as the gun fighting started? They ran away. We were on our own.”
Looters were heavily armed but Joo and Park shot back, and they weren’t the only ones. Another store owner named Jay Rhee said to The Los Angeles Times that he and his employees went to the roof of their building with semi-automatic weapons and started shooting off rounds.
Koreans felt they were especially targeted because they were economically dominant minorities. As a result of the riots, 45 percent of all the buildings in Koreatown were destroyed. However, those that survived have a few brave men and some semi-automatic weapons to thank for it.
Watch the preview of the A&E special below: