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Orange County church taking pictures: Suspect was upset over China-Taiwan tensions, investigators say



CNN
 — 

A suspect in a lethal taking pictures at a church in Laguna Woods, California, possible was politically motivated, investigators stated.

“It is believed the suspect involved was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan,” Orange County Sheriff Donald Barnes stated at a information convention Monday.

The suspect, David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas was a US citizen who immigrated from China years in the past, in keeping with Barnes.

At least one particular person died and 5 have been wounded within the taking pictures Sunday at Geneva Presbyterian Church, the place a sister Taiwanese church worshiped, the sheriff’s division stated.

One taking pictures sufferer was handled for accidents on the University of California, Irvine Medical Center and discharged in a single day, whereas one other two who have been transported to Providence Mission Hospital at the moment are in good situation, in keeping with hospital spokespeople.

CNN has reached out to search out out the present situation of the 2 different sufferers. Officials initially reported that 4 of the taking pictures victims have been in essential situation.

The suspect is just not believed to have any direct connection to the church or any member of the church, the sheriff stated. Officials stated they consider he acted alone.

Prosecutors are considering charging the suspect with one rely of homicide and 5 counts of tried homicide at his arraignment Tuesday, District Attorney Todd Spitzer stated.

CNN has not been capable of determine an lawyer for Chou.

The taking pictures occurred throughout a lunch reception of largely aged congregants to rejoice a pastor of the Taiwanese congregation who was coming back from a mission journey in Taiwan, Barnes stated, and it was heroism on the a part of the person who died that prevented extra bloodshed.

Dr. John Cheng, one of many folks on the reception, charged on the suspect, and “during the struggle, other parishioners had got involved,” Barnes stated.

A pastor threw a chair on the suspect, and the group was capable of tie him up, Barnes stated.

The parishioners have been capable of hogtie his legs with an extension twine and confiscate at the very least two handguns from him, Undersheriff Jeff Hallock stated Sunday.

“That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism in interfering or intervening to stop the suspect,” he stated.

Cheng, 52, was shot, nevertheless, and died on the church.

“Dr. Cheng is a hero in this incident, based on statements from the witnesses and corroborated by other means,” the sheriff stated.

The suspect had secured doorways of the church from the within earlier than he started taking pictures, Barnes stated. He additionally had a bag of Molotov cocktails and a bag of additional ammunition, in keeping with Barnes.

The shooting occurred during a lunch reception honoring a former pastor of a Taiwanese congregation that uses the church, a presbytery leader said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles decided that Chou was the unique purchaser of the 2 firearms recovered on the scene, ATF agent Stephen Galloway stated.

Authorities stated the victims harm within the taking pictures included 4 Asian males, ages 66, 75, 82 and 92, and one Asian girl age 86.

About 50 folks have been on the reception, stated Barnes.

Gov. Gavin Newsom stated his workplace is “working closely with local law enforcement.”

“No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event,” Newsom stated in a tweet.

The Taiwanese Presbyterian Church shared area with Geneva Presbyterian since 2009, in keeping with the sheriff. It at all times holds a lunch after its Sunday morning service, Laguna Woods Mayor Pro Tem Cynthia Conners informed CNN.

“We’ll see what we can do to meet with the members of the congregation, we’ll bring in someone from the Orange County Human Rights Commission … and try to make sure that the Asian members of our community feel as safe as all the other members of our community, although I would have to say I think we all feel a little less safe today,” Conners stated.

Taiwan’s authorities stated its financial and cultural workplace in Los Angeles has activated emergency response plans.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends our deepest condolences to the victims and their families,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou stated. “We will keep in touch with the family members of the victims to understand their needs, and provide all necessary help,” she added.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen posted on social media Tuesday, “I want to convey my sincere condolences on the death of Dr. John Cheng & my hopes for a prompt recovery for those injured in the shooting at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in California. Violence is never the answer.”

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