Elderly South Korean Man in ICE Custody Dies in Apparent Suicide Following Prison Release

A 74-year-old man from South Korea who had recently been released from prison has died in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency's custody in a case of apparent suicide.

According to ICE, Choung Woong Ahn, who was convicted for attempted murder in 2013, was pronounced dead at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield, California, at 9:52 p.m. on Sunday.

Workers at the ICE detention facility found Ahn unresponsive in his cell, the agency said in a press release.

Facility staff and emergency personnel attempted to revive him, but were unsuccessful.

While the case is still under investigation, ICE said the death appeared to be self-inflicted.

According to ICE, Ahn had been lawfully admitted into the U.S. as a permanent resident in 1988.

In June 2013, however, he was convicted of attempted murder with an enhancement for using a firearm and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

He had entered ICE custody on February 21 upon being released from Solano State Prison Vacaville, California, and was taken to the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center.

It is unclear whether state prison officials had notified ICE of Ahn's release. Newsweek has contacted ICE and state prison officials for comment.

His death came just days after he was denied bail on May 13 by the U.S. District Court of the Northern California District of California.

The 74-year-old had been in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

A comprehensive review of the incident is expected to be conducted by ICE senior leadership, including Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and the office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA).

In line with ICE's policies, the agency said the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, as well as the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, had been notified about the death.

ICE said it has also informed the South Korean consulate of the incident and requested that Ahn's next of kin also be notified of his death.

In an additional statement, ICE said the agency's Health Service Corps (IHSC) "ensures the provision of necessary medical care services as required by ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards and based on the medical needs of the detainee."

"Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay," the statement says, noting that "all ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care."

"Pursuant to our commitment to the welfare of those in the agency's custody, ICE annually spends more than $269 million on the spectrum of healthcare services provided to detainees," the agency said.

ICE
An immigration detainee stands near a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) grievance box in the high security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility, a county jail which also houses immigration detainees arrested by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), March 14, 2017 in Orange, California, about 32 miles (52km) southeast of Los Angeles. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty
Elderly South Korean Man in ICE Custody Dies in Apparent Suicide Following Prison Release | U.S.