Members of a church congregation in Orange County, California, were in the midst of a banquet celebrating the return of one of their pastors on Sunday (May 15) when a gunman opened fire, killing one and wounding five.
Church members from the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church managed to overpower the shooter and tied him up with extension cords.
He was later arrested and charged with one felony count of murder and five felony counts of attempted murder.
In a press conference on May 16, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department labelled the shooting a “politically-motivated hate incident”. It stemmed from “a grievance that this individual had between himself and the Taiwanese community at large”.
“Based on preliminary information in the investigation, it is believed the suspect involved was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan,” said a police spokesperson.
He was later identified as 68-year-old U.S. citizen David Chou, who immigrated from China and lived in the U.S. for “many years”.
Police said he worked as a security guard and in security jobs in the Las Vegas area and was not an attendee of the church.
Investigations thus far revealed “no direct connection” to the church or its members.
Police located “several bags” in the church building containing magazines with additional ammunition and four “Molotov cocktail-like incendiary devices”.
The police also shared details of how the shooting unfolded.
The shooter drove to the church, parked his car in the parking lot, secured the doors with chains, and tried to disable locks in the church with superglue.
He then started shooting inside the building.
Church members managed to tackle the man, however.
52-year-old John Cheng, a doctor who specialised in sports medicine, charged at the gunman and attempted to disarm him.
This allowed others to subdue the gunman and tie him up with extension cords before police arrived.
Cheng, however, was shot and later succumbed to his injuries.
Police lauded his “heroic actions”.
Five individuals, all Asian Americans aged between 66 and 92, sustained gunshot wounds and were taken to the hospital.
Two of those wounded were a couple in their 80s.
“This has been a sad day for the community,” said the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in a tweet, adding that it was “committed to fully investigating” the incident and would share as much information as possible.- Mothership.