Charges: Man with long history of random assaults attacks teen

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- A Pierce County teen is showing signs of PTSD after being attacked by a man with a 15-year-history of unprovoked assaults outside a University Place Safeway last month, according to charges filed April 8 with Pierce County Superior Court.

According to the charging documents, the victim was walking in the 3800 block of Bridgeport Way March 17 when 32-year-old Joon Cho, who was arrested last Thursday, suddenly hit him from behind near the Safeway parking lot.

Two witnesses watched as Cho punched the victim multiple times while the victim attempted to cover up and protect himself from the attack, according to the charging documents. The victim suffered a split lip and cuts and scratches to his head, back and arms.

According to the charging documents, Cho was gone by the time officers arrived; but the description of the attacker given by the victim and witnesses matched Cho, who has been a suspect in other unprovoked assaults dating back to 1999.

Both the victim and one of the witnesses were able to pick Cho out of a photo lineup, according to the charging documents.

Since the attack, the victim has had difficulty with his short-term memory and has required special accommodations at school. He suffers from headaches, anxiety, blurred vision and nightmares and has trouble sleeping.

Cho, who had drug charges dismissed seven years ago due to insanity, has a competency hearing scheduled for later this month.