US officials say Chinese immigrant motivated by deadly attack on church in California motivated by hatred of Taiwanese
Authorities told a news conference Monday that the shooter killed 52-year-old Dr. John Cheng and wounded five others in an attack on Taiwan’s Irwin Presbyterian Church.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said the motive for the shooting was resentment between the shooter, identified as a Chinese immigrant, and the Taiwanese community.
Barnes said the suspect went to an Orange County church where he was not a regular visitor, closed the door and started firing.
According to the sheriff, an armed man placed in the church four devices similar to a Molotov cocktail.
Barnes said Cheng, who is survived by his wife and two children, heroically attacked the shooter and tried to disarm him, allowing others to intervene.
The pastor hit the militant with a chair on the head, and parishioners tied him with electric cords.
But Barnes said Chen was shocked by the shots.
“Realizing that the elderly were everywhere and they could not leave the room because the doors were chained … he undertook to run across the room and do everything to disable the attacker,” said Orange. District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
72-year-old parishioner Jerry Chen, a longtime member of Taiwan’s Irwin Presbyterian Church, which holds services at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, said he saw church members shouting, running and diving under tables.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Twitter that 68-year-old David Chow of Las Vegas had been convicted on one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder.
The suspect legally purchased two 9-mm pistols in Las Vegas, said Stephen Galloway, an assistant special agent for ATF Los Angeles.
There is ample evidence that the suspect “had an absolute bias against the people of Taiwan, his country as a citizen of China or the mainland,” Spitzer said.
The suspect left notes in his car about “his hatred of the Taiwanese people,” the sheriff said.
Prison documents show that Zhou is on bail of $ 1 million ($ 1.4 million).
It is not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf.