Jerry Chen had just walked into the kitchen of the church scholarship hall around 1.30pm on Sunday Los Angeles time when he heard gunshots.
Chen, 72, a longtime member of Taiwan’s Irwin Presbyterian Church, which holds services at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, looked around the corner and saw others shouting, running and diving under the tables.
“I knew someone was shooting,” he said. “I was very, very scared. I ran out the kitchen door to call the 911 service. “
Officials said the shooting ended after a gunman killed one person and wounded five elderly people before worshipers tied his legs with an electric cord until deputies arrived. Four of the five wounded received severe gunshot wounds; their terms were not immediately available Monday morning.
David Chow, 68, of Las Vegas, has been convicted of one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office tweeted.
Prison documents show that Zhou is on $ 1 million bail. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
On Monday, the church was cordoned off with yellow police tape, and several bouquets of flowers were left outside the church grounds.
But on Sunday afternoon, Chen said he was in such a state of shock that he could not tell the operator his whereabouts when he called 911 from the church parking lot.
“I had to ask someone else for the address,” he said.
Chen said a group of about 40 worshipers gathered in the Friendship Hall for lunch after the morning service to greet their former pastor Billy Chang, a beloved and respected member of the community who has served the church for 20 years.
Chang returned to Taiwan two years ago. It was his first time returning to the state, Chen said.
“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 out.
Shortly afterwards, Chen said he heard details of what happened inside from others who came out. Partners told Chen that when the gunman stopped to recharge, Chang hit his chair on the head, while others quickly moved to grab his gun. They then 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.
Orange County Sheriff Jeff Halak praised the rapid work of parishioners in detaining an armed man.
“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, ”Halok said. “I think it’s safe to say that if people hadn’t intervened, things could have been a lot worse.”
The shooting took place the day after Fr. An 18-year-old man shot 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
When news of the shooting came after a racist riot in Buffalo – where a white gunman allegedly attacked a supermarket in a predominantly black area – fears spread that the Taiwanese congregation had also been the target of hate crimes.
But when the shooter was identified as an Asian, other questions arose while the investigation into the violence and the motives of the militant continued.
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