Orange County church shooting suspect identified, authorities say

CNN Newsource

(CNN) — A suspect in a deadly shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, California, has been identified, authorities said.

David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was named as a suspect Monday by the sheriff’s department.

“He has been booked on one felony count of murder and five felony counts of attempted murder,” the department said in a tweet.

CNN has not been able to identify an attorney for Chou.

At least one person died and five were wounded — including four who are critically injured — in the shooting Sunday at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, the sheriff’s department said.

“One victim is deceased at the scene,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said in a tweet Sunday.

The shooting happened during a lunch reception to honor a former pastor of a Taiwanese congregation that uses the church for its worship services, according to Tom Cramer, a presbytery leader.

Investigators are working to determine whether he has any connections to the church or its congregants, a statement from the sheriff’s department said.

Police do not yet have a motive, said Hallock.

The suspect was detained at the scene after a group of people at the church were able to hogtie his legs with an extension cord and confiscate at least two handguns from him, said Hallock.

Peggy Huang, a former member of the church, said when the gunman started reloading, the churchgoers went into action.

“That was an opportunity for the pastor to strike him with the chair, and everybody else tackled him,” she said, citing an eyewitness.

“That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism in interfering or intervening to stop the suspect,” he said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles said Sunday it has placed an urgent trace on the firearms.

“This will determine who was the 1st purchaser of the guns,” the bureau tweeted.

Authorities said the victims injured in the shooting included four Asian men, ages 66, 75, 82 and 92, and one Asian woman age 86.

“The identity of the decedent will be released pending official identification by the Coroner and notification of next of kin,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said.

About 30-40 people were in attendance at the reception, said Hallock.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his office is “working closely with local law enforcement.”

“No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event,” said Newsom in a tweet.

The Taiwanese congregation, which became a sister congregation at Geneva Presbyterian Church about five or six years ago, always holds a lunch after their Sunday morning service, Laguna Woods Mayor Pro Tem Cynthia Conners told CNN.

“We’ll see what we can do to meet with the members of the congregation, we’ll bring in someone from the Orange County Human Rights Commission … and try to make sure that the Asian members of our community feel as safe as all the other members of our community, although I would have to say I think we all feel a little less safe today,” Conners said.

Taiwan’s government says its Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles has activated emergency response plans.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends our deepest condolences to the victims and their families,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou said. “We will keep in touch with the family members of the victims to understand their needs, and provide all necessary help,” she added.

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