David Chou, 68, has been ID’d as the gunman who killed one churchgoer and injured several more at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California. Chou is a mainland Chinese immigrant who reportedly targeted the Taiwanese congregation during a lunch, according to law enforcement officials.
Chou has been charged with murder after fatally shooting Dr. John Cheng, 52, and wounding five others during a lunch held by Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church over the weekend. The gunman, who reportedly travelled from Las Vegas, was subdued and hogtied thanks to the congregation’s pastor.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said the motive of the Laguna Woods shooter was a grievance between himself and the Taiwanese community. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has long sought to bring the island under its control.
Barnes said the suspect drove to the Orange County church, where he was not a regular attendee, secured the doors and started shooting. The gunman also placed four Molotov cocktail-like devices inside the church, the sheriff said.
Barnes said Cheng, who was killed in the shooting, heroically charged the gunman and attempted to disarm him. The congregation’s pastor then hit the gunman on the head with a chair, allowing parishioners to hog-tie him with electrical cords.
“Understanding that there was elderly everywhere and they couldn’t get out of the premises because the doors had been chained .. he took it upon himself to charge across the room and to do everything he could to disable the assailant,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said of Cheng. He is survived by his wife and two children.
OC Sheriff say it’s believed the suspect David Chou “was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan” when he attacked the Taiwanese American Presbyterian congregation in Laguna Woods on Sunday, killing 1 and wounding 5. pic.twitter.com/UW7h0EBP5d
— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) May 16, 2022
David Chou has since been booked on one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder. Federal authorities have also opened a hate crime investigation, which will likely lead to more charges for Chou.
A former neighbor told reporters that the suspected Laguana Hills gunmen had been declining mentally after nearly being beaten to death several years ago. Balmore Orellana told The Associated Press that Chou was once friendly and well-spoken before the beating caused his life to unravel.
The 68-year-old had recently been evicted from his home as well.