Husband says shooting wife was accident

As his newlywed wife lay dead on the kitchen floor of their Norwich apartment, Chihan "Eric" Chyung told police he had accidentally shot Paige A. Bennett Chyung after the two argued for hours about a fishing rod he had just purchased, according to court documents unsealed in New London Superior Court Thursday.

Eric Chyung, 46, is charged with first-degree manslaughter and is being held on a $1 million bond at the MacDougall Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield.

According to police reports and search warrants, Chyung called police at 11:39 p.m. on June 2 and stated he had shot his wife. The police arrived at 257 Norwich Ave. to find Chyung standing near his pickup truck, which was parked behind the house. He surrendered without incident and directed police to his Glock 9 mm handgun in the truck.

Inside the house, police found Paige Chyung, a 46-year-old nurse's aid, on the kitchen floor with a single gunshot wound to the head. A shell casing was on the floor, and the victim was holding what appeared to be a bag of marijuana, according to the report.

Chyung told police he was packing to leave the house when he accidentally shot his wife of three weeks.

"We were having an argument. I went to put the gun away," he said. "I bought a new fishing rod. She was mad."

Chyung said his wife left the house briefly during the argument, telling him, "I don't need you home when I get back." He packed a suitcase and placed it in the kitchen next to the door that leads outside.

When his wife returned, Chyung said, the argument continued. He said he decided to leave and retrieved his pistol from a bedside table since he didn't know how long he would be gone. He said he kept a loaded magazine in the handgun but did not leave a bullet in the chamber.

Chyung said he went into the kitchen with the gun in his right hand and was going to place it in the suitcase. He said he was not "really" aware that his wife was in the kitchen.

"The accused stated as he went to put the handgun into the suitcase it was pointed in the direction of the victim and the handgun fired," the report says. "He stated his finger was not 'consciously' on the trigger when it fired."

Chyung said he took the suitcase and gun, left the house and called a friend from his truck. He told the friend he had killed his wife, and the friend told Chyung to return home and call police.

Chyung, who is being represented by public defender Kevin Barrs, is due back in court on Aug. 5.

k.florin@theday.com

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