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California police say 68-year-old church shooting suspect motivated by hatred | California

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While the U.S. was engulfed in deadly gun violence last weekend, a shooting took place in the south of a church in Orange County on Sunday California worried when an armed man, motivated by hatred of Taiwanese, fired on parishioners who managed to stop the bloodshed.

On Monday, authorities identified a suspect accused of killing one person and injuring five others at the Geneva Presbyterian Church as David Chow of Las Vegas. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has charged a 68-year-old man with murder and five criminal charges for attempted murder and has been held on $ 1 million bail.

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Violence in Irvine, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles, unfolded over a weekend of horrific gun violence across America, including in Buffalo, where an 18-year-old white-dominated supporter killed 10 people at a grocery store. the area is predominantly black. . A man was killed in a shooting at the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles on Saturday. Some of the visitors were discussing the shooting in New York when the shots started and they forced them to flee to cover.

Authorities said a shooting at Laguna Woods Church on Saturday could have killed more people if not for churchgoers. The shooter opened fire during lunch at Taiwan’s Irwin Presbyterian Church, which holds services at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, but was stopped when the pastor hit him in the head with a chair and parishioners used electric cords to restrain him until police arrived.

John Cheng, 52, was killed in a shooting, authorities said at a news conference Monday.

Don Barnes, sheriff of Orange County, said the motive for the shooting was resentment between Zhou, identified as a Chinese immigrant, and the Taiwanese community. China claims that Taiwan is part of its national territory and does not rule out the possibility of handing over the island to its rule.

Zhou is expected to appear in state court on Tuesday, and it was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. The federal investigation into hate crimes is also ongoing.

The Zhou family was among many who were apparently forcibly deported from China to Taiwan sometime after 1948, Orange County Attorney Todd Spitzer said. Zhou’s hatred of the island, allegedly documented in handwritten notes found by the authorities, seems to have started from the moment he felt he was mistreated when he lived there.

Barnes said Zhou is a U.S. citizen and has been in the U.S. for many years. It is unclear how long Zhou used to live in Taiwan.

Barnes said Chow went to Orange County Church, where he was not a regular visitor, closed the door and started firing. He also placed in the church four devices similar to a Molotov cocktail, the sheriff said. Zhou legally purchased two 9mm pistols that were used in the Las Vegas shooting, said Stephen Galloway, an assistant to the Los Angeles ATF Special Agent.

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 are everywhere and they can’t leave the room because the doors were chained … he took it upon himself to jump through the room and do his best to disable the attacker,” Spitzer said.

A former neighbor said Zhou’s life unfolded after his wife left him. According to Balmar Orellana, Chow was a pleasant man who owned an apartment building in Las Vegas, where he lived until February, according to the Associated Press.

Records showed that in October last year, the four-unit property was sold for just over $ 500,000. Orellana said Zhou’s wife used the money from the sale to move to Taiwan, the AP reported.

Before Orellana moved about five years ago, Zhou suffered a head injury and other serious injuries as a result of a tenant attack, a neighbor said. More recently, his mental health has deteriorated, and last summer a bullet hit Orellana’s apartment after a gun was fired at Chow’s apartment, although no one was injured, Orellana said.

Police reports of Monday’s attack and shooting were not available immediately, the AP reported.

72-year-old Jerry Chen, a longtime member of the church, said he had just walked into the church kitchen when he heard gunshots and people started shouting. Looking around the corner, he saw people running and hiding under the tables.

“I knew someone was shooting,” he said. “I was very, very scared. I ran out the kitchen door to call 911. ” Chen said he was so shocked that he could not tell the operator where the church was, and was forced to ask someone else for the address.

John Cheng was killed in a Sunday shooting at the Geneva Presbyterian Church. Photo: Jae C Hong / AP

About 40 people gathered in the Friendship Hall for lunch after the morning service to greet their former pastor Billy Chang, said Chen, who has worked at the church for 20 years. Chang, a beloved and respected member of the community, returned to Taiwan two years ago, Chen said, adding that it was his first time in the United States.

“Everyone just finished dinner,” he said. “They were photographed with Pastor Chang. I just finished lunch and went to the kitchen. “

Then he heard gunshots and ran to the parking lot. Partners told Chen that when the gunman stopped to recharge, Pastor Chang hit him with a chair on the head. Others quickly went to grab the shooter’s gun, subdued him and tied him up, Chen said.

“It was amazing how brave (Chang) and others were,” he said. “It’s so sad. I never 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,” he said.

All those injured in the shooting were senior citizens, four of whom received severe gunshot wounds. The sheriff’s department said four Asian men aged 66, 75, 82 and 92 and an 86-year-old Asian were among those shot. It is believed that most of those who were in the church at the time were of Taiwanese descent, said Carrie Brown, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

Lagoon Woods, where the shooting took place, was built as an elderly settlement and later became a city. More than 80% of the population in the city with a population of 18 thousand – at least 65 years.

The shooting took place in an area with many houses of worship, including Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist churches and a Jewish synagogue.

The sheriff’s office said the investigation was in its infancy and that investigators were finding out that he was known to church members and how many shots were fired.
The afternoon reception was to honor the former pastor of the Taiwanese Congregation, according to a statement from the presbytery of Los Ranch, the church’s governing body.

“Please keep the leadership of the Taiwanese Congregation and Geneva in their prayers, as they care for those affected by the shooting,” Tom Kramer said in a statement on Facebook.

On its website, the Geneva Presbyterian Church says its mission is to “remember, tell and live like Jesus, being just, kind and humble.”

“Everyone is invited here. Indeed, we mean it! Geneva strives to be an inclusive congregation that worships, learns, connects, gives and serves together. ”

The governor’s office said on Twitter that they were closely monitoring the situation.

“No one should be afraid to go to a place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, the community and all those affected by this tragic event, ”he said on Twitter.

In recent years, there have been repeated shootings in prayer houses in the United States. The deadliest incident occurred in 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman opened fire during a Sunday service at First Baptist Church and killed more than two dozen people.

In 2015, Dylan Ruff, a proponent of white supremacy, fired dozens of bullets during a closing prayer Bible study session at Mother Emmanuel’s AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Rufus killed nine members of the Black Assembly and became the first person in the United States to be sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. His appeal remains in the Supreme Court.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/16/california-police-suspect-church-shooting

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