Police say the Chinese man, accused of shooting an elderly Taiwanese man and inflicting five injuries on their California church on Sunday, was motivated by “political tensions between China and Taiwan.”
David Chow, 68, is accused of opening fire on a Taiwanese congregation that was gathering at a church in Laguna Woods, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Among the victims are four men aged 66 to 92 and an 86-year-old woman.
Four victims remain in critical condition.
Chow, a native of Las Vegas, has been charged with one count and five counts of attempted murder, and he is on $ 1 million bail.
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, deputies found that the gunman was motivated by the ethnicity of his victims.
Taiwan is a sovereign island nation about 100 miles off the coast of China. The small country is still claimed by China, although it has its own representation in the United Nations and is recognized as independent by 13 countries and the Vatican.
Zhou even tried to superglue the locks, trying to keep everyone inside during the riot, deputies say.
The pastor hit Zhou on the head with a chair shortly after he started firing. Elderly believers, who say they have never seen him before, took his weapon and tied it with an electric cord until the police arrived.
Police have identified a man who shot an elderly believer at a Southern California church on Sunday afternoon as 68-year-old David Chow.
The Congregation (some pictured together) was in the hall for lunch after the morning service to greet its former pastor Billy Chang (pictured center, fourth right) after returning to the U.S. from Taiwan for the first time in two years
Deputies say Zhou, a Chinese man, was motivated by an “individual complaint” against the Taiwanese community. Above, detectives near the Geneva Presbyterian Church
The shooting took place in the small town of Laguna Woods, about 55 miles south of Los Angeles.
Zhou is accused of committing a horrific crime at the Presbyterian Church in Geneva.
The horrific attack came a day after a white-dominated supporter killed 10 people at a grocery store in upstate New York.
It is assumed that the armed man does not live in the area. Public records show he has been linked to a dozen different addresses since the late 1980s, suggesting the possibility that he is a real estate investor, according to the Orange County Registry.
Now lawmakers say the Chinese gunman was motivated by an “individual complaint” to Taiwan, which recently complained about an increase in China’s military presence in its airspace.
About 40 parishioners witnessed the violence on Sunday, but those present also helped prevent further bloodshed by overcoming the shooter and tying him up.
The shooting took place around 13.25 during a dinner in honor of former pastor Billy Chang, who has served the church for 20 years and was a beloved and respected member of the community.
Chang returned to Taiwan two years ago. It was his first time he returned to the state.
Longtime parishioner Jerry Chen, 72, had just stepped into the kitchen of a church hall when he heard gunshots and saw church members shouting, running and diving under tables.
“I knew someone was shooting,” he said. “I was very, very scared. I ran out through the kitchen to call 911.
Taiwanese pastor hero Billy Chang (pictured) knocked down an armed man with a chair, and elderly believers tied him up after a shooting at Taiwan’s Irwin Presbyterian Church on Sunday, killing one and injuring five
Chen, who called an ambulance from the church parking lot, said he was in such a state of shock that he could not tell the operator his whereabouts. “I had to ask someone else for the address,” he said.
Everyone has just finished lunch – a special bento box with teriyaki chicken.
Chen said: “They were photographed with Pastor Chang. I just finished lunch and went to the kitchen. ” Then he heard gunshots and ran out.
Shortly afterwards, Chen said he heard details of what happened inside from others who came out. Comrades told him that when the gunman stopped to recharge, Pastor Chang hit him with a chair on the head, and others quickly moved on to grab his gun. They then subdued him and bound him.
“It was amazing how brave (Chang) and others were,” he said. “It’s so sad. I never, ever thought that something like this would happen in my church, in my community. “
Most church members are elderly, highly educated Taiwanese immigrants, Chen said. “We are mostly retired, and the average age of our church is 80.”
The gunman apparently tried to close the door with superglue, trying to prevent people from coming out when he shot them, lawmakers said Monday.
On Sunday afternoon in the church you could see any ambulances
A longtime Irwin parishioner, Jerry Chen, 72, had just walked into the kitchen of his church friends’ room when he heard gunshots and saw church members shouting, running and diving under tables.
The sheriff’s department said four Asian men aged 66, 75, 82 and 92 and an 86-year-old Asian were among those shot.
The two victims are a husband and wife. Four are in critical condition.
Authorities say the participants “showed exceptional heroism and courage in detaining the suspect.”
“This group of churchgoers has shown what we believe is exceptional heroism and courage by intervening to stop the suspect. They have undoubtedly prevented further injuries and deaths, ”Orange County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Halak said.
“I think it’s safe to say that if people hadn’t intervened, things could have been a lot worse.”
Two pistols were found in the shooter, which were quickly removed.
The two victims were taken to Providence Mission Hospital, the medical center confirmed. Another victim was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, and two more were taken to Orange County Global Medical Center, including a 92-year-old man who was shot.
It is believed that most of those in the church are of Taiwanese descent and gathered to honor the former pastor of the church after lunch after Sunday morning service.
Deputies say gunman David Chow was motivated by an “individual complaint” against Taiwanese. Investigators said they did not believe the gunman lived in the village.
Photo from the file, as the church usually looks, in the photo from its Facebook page
Visitors to the church are seen as police investigating the shooting at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods. Many of those present were of Taiwanese descent
Investigators from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have joined Orange County law enforcement in their investigation.
“According to the first information, one person died and several others were seriously injured. Please keep the leadership of the Taiwan Congregation and Geneva in their prayers as they care for those affected by this shooting. In Your mercy, Lord, we pray, ”the diocese said in a statement after the shooting.
The surrounding town of 18,000 people consists of the village of Laguna Woods, a large retirement community for people 55 and older, formerly known as Leisure World. According to demographics, more than 80 percent of the city’s residents are at least 65 years old.
Cynthia Connors, mayor of Lagoon Woods, said Sunday that she is a member of the church and attended services that morning. The Taiwanese group usually attends church later in the morning.
“I couldn’t even imagine that something like this could happen here,” church organist Charlotte Hsey said in an interview with the New York Times. “I’m as shocked as anyone.”