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Landlord held in deaths of teenage tenants

PORTLAND, Maine – A 74-year-old Maine man was charged in the shooting deaths of two tenants inside an apartment he rented out at his home, possibly regarding a dispute about where they parked their cars during a snowstorm, state police said Sunday.

James Pak was arrested at about 10 p.m. Saturday following a standoff at his suburban neighborhood home in Biddeford, about 15 miles south of Portland, police said.

He is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Derrick Thompson, 19, and Thompson’s girlfriend, 18-year-old Alivia Welch.

Thompson’s mother, Susan Johnson, 44, called police to report the shootings at about 7 p.m. She and her 6-year-old son also live in the apartment, which is attached to the main house where Pak lived.

Before the shootings, Biddeford police were called to Pak’s home regarding a dispute between Pak and his tenants about their cars being parked in his driveway during the snowstorm, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said. Biddeford banned street parking during the night so city crews could plow the streets.

Minutes after officers left the home, they received the call reporting the shootings. Upon their return, Biddeford police rescued Johnson and her young son, and Pak retreated to his part of the house, where he lived with his wife, McCausland said.

Pak’s wife left the home, and he surrendered hours later after talking to police negotiators, said McCausland. A gun was found in the house.

Johnson was being treated for a gunshot wound at a Portland hospital, officials said. Her younger son, Brayden, was not hurt.

Detectives are investigating whether the violence stemmed from a landlord-tenant dispute, McCausland said. Johnson and her family moved into the apartment in October.

Pak is being held at the York County Jail in Alfred and is expected to make his initial court appearance either Monday or Wednesday, depending on the availability of a judge.

The victim’s bodies were transported Sunday to the medical examiner’s office in Augusta, where autopsies will be performed.

Thompson was an auto detailer at a local car dealership and had attended Biddeford High School, and Welch worked at a local coffee shop and graduated from Thornton Academy in Saco, according to their Facebook profiles and a list of Thornton Academy graduates. Two people who answered a phone call at the coffee shop would not comment.

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